In view of the involvement of several of Biju Janata Dal leaders and ministers of his current as well as the previous cabinet in the land allotment scam in the state of Odisha, one must hail Naveen Patnaik for tracing and inducting so many talented leaders in the party and his cabinet. In spite of the fact that a part of responsible media is genuinely critical about Naveen Patnaik and his government, this letter in form of a satire intends to hail Naveen Patnaik for his search of talents that make his cabinet transparent and principled.
My dear Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik,
Going beyond just offering my sincere regards, I must hail you for spotting some of the best talents from Odisha to take into your party, get them elected so you can ride the stairs to power and to include in your most transparent cabinet, as you and your party colleagues most often claim, to make it completely honest and stainless, perhaps fairer than the quality of the steel you want to produce in the foreign investor’s plants you have planned in the state.
To me, talents may not necessarily be in areas people appreciate. It may be in non-appreciated areas as well like managing to win elections by whatever means, loot public properties by violating and manipulating laws, [mis]using power to grab public resources like land, mines and, even, parts of the Ocean. If you do not know, you must be excited to know that your party colleagues have acquired parts of the Bay of Bengal at places where you have planned ports.
As per the news reports came in last few days, several of your party colleagues have truly excelled in those non-appreciated talents, may be, due to your relentless exercises and encouragement. I believe, your party colleagues must be obliged or, at least, appreciative of your support and encouragement.
Wednesday, August 13, I saw one of your cabinet ministers, who availed the privilege of discretionary quota (DQ) in violation of basic norms of eligibility, claiming his readiness on TV screens (it was just a scrolling but) to surrender the land on a single word of instruction from you only. I was really thrilled to imagine your minister's confidence of honesty in spite of the fact that his indulgence in illegal occupation of government land under DQ and forcible grabbing of the adjacent land, larger than the one he obtained under DQ, terming it just a surplus cut-piece, were all known to public.
I was further delighted to see the kind of loyalty he had for you while claiming loudly about his readiness to return the land on your single insistence.
I must hail you for the kind of behavioural culture and sense of respect (exclusively for you) you have instilled in your party colleagues who are so loyal to you openly.
The same minister demonstrated his loyalty, few days back, saying that he had no issue accepting you or any other from your family, citing the name of one Arun Patnaik, as the leader of the party. If you still remember, the said minister compared himself with Lal Bahadur Shastry when the former had to vacate his ministerial berth, on your instruction, for alleged link in a rape and murder case in his constituency. Then also he said he stepped out of your cabinet to keep your image clean. His concern for your image and commitment to keep it clean must be applauded. Hope, you must have recognised this.
So, I must also hail you for keeping your colleagues committed to protect your image and imbibing in them the highest regard for it knowing very well that they have least regards for the state and its people.
However, this reigning minister of your cabinet, though is hugely talented in many areas, is no better than the minister in your last cabinet, whom you preferred to send to the Rajya Sabha as representative of your party, who could manage to allot ‘n’ numbers of plots and flats in his name and in the names of his family members under DQ. I am not sure if his ideas are inspired by you but his derivation of the newer definition for the word “family” as “one member one family” should certainly be seen as the newest view of Indian family system.
We didn’t see such talents in your cabinet now for the first time. Another of your cabinet colleague who was holding responsible berth of law ministry in your last cabinet was also in news for acquiring land in violation of norms.
There are many more examples and, I believe, you don’t need to be briefed about all such cases because your own media cell and bureaucrat counsellors must be briefing you about all minute developments related to your government and ministers.
One thing I must appreciate that none of your colleagues involved in the above cited cases has denied to the fact of acquiring land under DQ, certainly, in violation of norms. Rather two did immediately return their land and houses in acceptance of their fault. I appreciate the guts of your colleagues believing that accepting faults while in power needs lots of guts!
Hailing you once again for your modesty reflected in your tolerance to those persons even after so many bombs hurled on them, and on your government of course, by several media, I have a reason to believe that you must also be thinking the same way.
Grabbing land or houses under DQ in violation of norms, admitting their mistakes after it came in news and continuing to be in power even after acceptance of their mistakes make me recall an old story I heard during my childhood.
The story in the beginning explained how a benevolent king who, after giving a patient hearing to a case of crime committed by one of his subjects granted amnesty as the subject admitted that he committed the crime and promised not to do so in future.
King’s son, who was present during the trial, asked his father, why did he grant amnesty to the man who committed the crime?
The king politely replied, the subject had no criminal intent as he didn’t try to lie about the crime and admitted the truth.
The king’s son, during his rule, made it a point and made it a principle as well so that criminals who admitted their crimes were granted amnesty and criminals thrived in his state as crimes were mostly forgiven.
I must hail you and salute you for setting a similar kind of principle to guide your government, colleagues in your cabinet and the party.
Whatever your critics and the genuine media of the state say about you, your cabinet and party colleagues and your government, you still have a point in your defence - "it's all guided by principle!"
An insignificant admirer
This piece was first published on August 14, 2014, at the HotnHitNews.