Odisha’s five time champion
Today Naveen Patnaik took oath as the chief minister of Odisha for a record fifth time. The previous four times he did this inside the Raj Bhavan. This time the swearing-in ceremony was held at the Idco exhibition ground in Bhubaneswar.
With a 2% increase in vote share, on May 23 BJD won 112 seats in the 147 strong assembly. Addressing the newly-elected party legislators three days later, Patnaik said, “People ask me often what is the secret of the BJD’s continuous success and I always tell them these two points – keep people in focus and work for people … Always remember to lead a simple life. When you are simple, people are close to you.”
This is the winning narrative, evidently. We are also told that the man has not taken a single holiday in 22 years, ever since joining politics. Stark differences in personality notwithstanding, the similarities with the winning Modi narrative are undeniable. So are the sheer animal spirits. Nineteen years in the same seat of power later complacency hasn’t set in. Patnaik has fought a vigorous BJP challenge with matching stamina, and even novelty.
His government’s true test is also the same as the new Modi government’s, to deliver something more than improved welfare delivery, to grow the economy beyond state paternalism.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.