Who will replace Naveen Patanik as Chief Minister of Odisha? A question often asked and debated in the media and when the same question was asked to Naveen Patnaik himself he, as always, gave his answer with a one liner – people will choose their leader.
The Chief Minister said it’s neither his party (Biju Janata Dal) nor his duty to select the next leader who will take the chair after him rather it’s the people of Odisha will decide who will lead them.
In an interactive session with Prabhu Chawla, Editorial Director of The New Indian Express, at the concluding day of the fifth edition of the Odisha Literary Festival (OLF) here, Patnaik said: “ People in their own judgement will choose their own leader at the appropriate time and I don’t think it’s necessery to groom a leader.”
Clarifying his stand on the much talked about alliance with Congress, the Chief Minister said : “There is no question of alliance with Congress party in fact our policy is to remain equidistant from both BJP and Congress.”
Terming the Congress and BJP as weaker political parties in Odisha, the CM said BJP had managed to get 10 seats while Congress won only 16 seats in the last Assembly elections and in Lok Sabha elections, BJD got 20 seats and BJP won one which shows there is no sign of those parties growing in strength in the State.
When Chawla asked whether he is interested in central politics, Patnaik threw another one-liner that ‘he is happy and content with his present job and staying in Odisha’. “I am not interested in Delhi politics,” informed BJD supremo who has been ruling the state for the last 17 years.
Answering questions about why Odisha’s image has not been changed instead taken a hit after the infamous Dana Majhi incident in Kalahandi, the CM said Odisha’s image has changed and starvation is a story of the past.
He said there are failures like Posco, but that’s because Centre changed its policies of giving mines.
Moving on questions over personal and lifestyle of CM, the celebrated editor asked why Naveen Patnaik prefers a small car like SX4 when rest of the Chief Ministers drive big cars such Fortuner and BMW, Patnaik said he is quite happy and feels comfortable in SX4 as the government had provided it for him.
The Odisha CM, who is also known for literary skills, said that the exchange of literature will enrich Indian tradition.