Yesterday, the whole country reverberated with the sounds of Conch shells, Bells, Yells, claps and thalis on PM Modi’s call to show our gratitude to the people to maintain our ‘essential supplies’ in these hard times. This was a call to appreciate the unsung heroes of the country, who do not defend the country on borders, but make sure than our life do not stop in crisis times.
Many opposition leaders, including Naveen Patnaik, Sharad Pawar, O Paneerselvam also joined the people and came out of their homes to show solidarity to our unsung heroes like doctors, nurses, health and sanitation workers, media persons.
“Deep gratitude to millions of frontline warriors working relentlessly to contain Covid-19. I clap for all the doctors, nurses, health and sanitation workers, media persons, transport personnel, policemen & people providing basic necessities as partners to knockdown the pandemic,” tweeted Odisha CM and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik, with a video of him thali beating.
Naveen Patnaik has been class apart as a politician, chief minister, and as opposition leader too. He always supported the central government, irrespective of the party in power, on the matters of ‘National Importance.’ His politics has always been ‘constructive’ and dedicated towards the upliftment of the society. And perhaps this is the reason that Patnaik has been CM of the state for last 20 years, despite the fact that he is not well-versed in Odia, the first language of the state.
Naveen Patnaik is son of charismatic Odia leader Biju Patnaik who was CM of the state from 1990 to 1995. In 1995, the Congress party was elected to power in the state and it changed three CMs in five years. The people voted Biju Janata Dal- a party Naveen Patnaik formed in 198 in the name of his father who died in a plane crash in 1997- in 2000 elected and since then the party has won all assembly elections in the state.
He has sailed the state in one crisis after other in the last two decades. Apart from handling the Cyclone Phani in an impeccable fashion in cooperation with Union government in 2019, BJD also openly backed NDA on several important issues, including on the passing of important bills such as that of criminalizing Triple Talaq and the removal of Article 370. Under the leadership of Naveen Pattnaik, BJD is one of the rare opposition parties who have supported Union government when it came to keeping national interests above everything else.
In July 2018, when over hyped no confidence motion is happened on the house floor, BJD helped the BJP led NDA government at the centre by staging a walkout. BJD has no illusions about the ability, strength, intent of either the united opposition or Congress and that is why it decided to tacitly support the NDA with the walkout. BJD knew that nothing good can possibly come out of useless debate and chose to stay with the right side at the right time.
BJD always chose ‘non-confrontational’ politics, especially with the party in power at the centre-unlike TMC, the party in neighboring West Bengal- as it helps the party to work in sync with Union government, and get a good deal in union grants to states.
He also supported PM Modi’s One Nation One Election dream in 2018. He said, “We are elected to work for the people. Elections throughout the year disturb the development works. Therefore, we support simultaneous polls.” He further added, “We support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal for simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and assemblies. This will serve the country well.”
Even in the case of Coronavirus, Patnaik has acted very swiftly and announced lockdown in many districts, despite the fact that state has only 2 cases and no injuries so far. The BJD government also announced 50 days MGNREGS wage guarantee to every worker in the state.
The swift decision making and constructive approach to politics is what makes Patnaik an unbeatable leader, and that is why BJP has not been able to topple him despite its national resurgence.