- Mamata Banerjee and Nitish Kumar are always considered as the biggest rivals against the Modi Government
- Naveen Patnaik on the other hand is never appreciated by his allies, because of his inability to create drama.
- Unlike the opposition leaders, Mamata and Nitish, Naveen Patnaik always supports the Government on nationalistic issues.
- The opposition should have projected Naveen Patnaik instead of Mamata and Nitish Kumar.
Ever since Mamata Banerjee won the West Bengal assembly elections, she has been projected, by a section of opposition as the next face of the opposition to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Similarly, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, currently in the NDA fold, once harboured ambitions of going against Modi. While Mamata and Nitish are routinely portrayed as the next big thing in opposition, another leader in Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik is never given the same platform, despite being a proven performer, unlike the other two.
The reason Naveen Patnaik is given the cold shoulder is simply due to his non-ability to create drama and theatre. The opposition loves a leader that performs antics and invites attention rather than speaking through their work. Patnaik prefers to maintain few steps away from the limelight.
Moreover, unlike Nitish and Mamata, Patnaik has not defined himself in the binary of UPA or NDA. His entire career has been built independently of the influence of two. But when it comes to taking sides on nationalistic issues, Patnaik is one of the few non-NDA leaders, always on the front foot supporting the government – a trait extremely rare in the current hyper polarised political climate.
While the leaders of the two eastern states have routinely switched coalitions, owning to what suits their allegiances and political aspirations at the moment, Patnaik has been unwavering and resolute in his political ideology. Biju Janata Dal (BJD) was and remains his political turf, and the mild-mannered CM has done well to retain the state for the better part of the last two decades.
A big pre-requisite for being termed as the leader of the opposition is one’s ability to indulge in minority appeasement, wear the cloak of secularism and don a skull cap. Mamata and Nitish have gone overboard in their love for the minority, which borders on the line of pure lunacy at times. Thus, their morals are questionable when it comes to keeping the religious identities separate from the developmental work for the state.
The vote bank politics drive their electoral chariot, and it is never a good optic for a particular leader trying to make it big on the national stage. Both Mamata and Nitish are the product of Nehruvian Socialism and continue to breathe and evoke similar philosophy.
Their love for socialism is why factories and industries have practically dried up in Bihar and West Bengal. Last month, Odisha overtook both Bengal and Bihar in the GST Revenue collection and that explains the fallout of loving the Socialism ethos to your core.
The duo of Mamata and Nitish, despite performing badly at the state level, are wary of what goes out in the media. Both are huge proponents of censorship, and whosoever goes against them in criticism is inadvertently set in place. While Nitish might not be as rigid in curtailing the press freedom, Mamata, on the other hand, as we saw in the aftermath of assembly elections didn’t even shy away from using her TMC goons to inflict unspeakable acts of torture and violence on non-TMC voters. Imagine the press in such a fascist state.
Lastly, Kolkata and Bihar have been the power centre of Indian politics for a long. The former had been the capital of the country while the latter has given several tall leaders across the decades that have shaped the country’s destiny. Odisha meanwhile has been relatively dormant despite a gem of a leader in place. If the opposition believed in taking on PM Modi, it would have tried to project a leader like Patnaik at the forefront.