Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Chief Minister Navein Patnaik has survived the no-confidence motion moved against him by the Opposition Congress on August 29. But it doesn’t mean that he enjoys confidence.

He is heading a coalition ministry in partnership with BJP.

As many as 20 members of its legislative wing, meaning majority of its MLAs including three of its ministers namely Samir De, Golak Nayak and Brindavan Majhi in a specially conveyed conclave had decided to withdraw support from the Government in the night preceding the day fixed for taking up the motion of no-confidence. To save the situation, the pro-power duo – law minister Biswabhusan Harichandan and revenue minister Manmohan Samal – had to invoke the controlling supremacy of their central leadership and afraid of losing power in Orissa, BJP high command suppressed its internecine revolt at the last moment. Does it mean the oral rejection of the no-confidence motion carry expression of confidence of these BJP MLAs in the Chief Minister?

So the oral ‘no’ to the no-confidence motion is no expression of confidence in Navin Patnaik.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Opposition decided to remain silent. But their silence stonewalled the House like never before. The ministry of Navin Patnaik was too demoralized to run the business of the House for more than a hundred minutes on August 28.

The catastrophic collapse of law and order implementation in the State that has culminated in unprecedented communal carnage following killing of Hindu communal leader Laxmanananda is so serious that the Opposition has been stressing on formation of an all-party-committee to overview the situation and to use collective wisdom for restoration of social harmony and peace. But the government did not bother to care.

As the House was called to business at 10.30 a.m., deputy leader of Opposition, Mr. Narasingh Mishra wanted to put on records the concern that the Chief Minister’s conduct is not conducive to democratic norms that the House stands for.

The CM has failed to understand how Opposition is important to democracy.

He has not thought it prudent to take the Opposition to confidence in tackling communal conflicts that has set the state on fire.

Pointing out how a partner in coalition ministry, the BJP, has been caught red-handed when a nephew of its top-ranking leader B.P.Agrawal was arrested by Kendrapada police in bomb throwing offence, Mishra regretted that the CM is more partisan than prudent and it is futile to voice concern when the CM does not hear. He therefore declared to silently protest against the ongoing misrule.

Veterans of Opposition spoke in his support and the Opposition joined him in a silent Dharana in the well of the House before the Speaker’s podium. As adjournment after adjournment went in vein, the Speaker adjourned the House to 3pm. But, as the House resumed, Misra insisted upon urgent formation of all party committee for proper assessment and remedy of the communal flare-up. His words not heeded to, the Opposition again resorted to silent protests.

The Speaker, not knowing how to overcome the silent stonewalling, adjourned the House for the day, with only a Bill on Orissa’s name spelling somewhat passing unopposed.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Legislative Assembly is meant to discharge two duties: Monitoring administration and Adopting Legislations.

Monitoring administration is meant to save the State from ruins and to ensure that the Ministry makes the executive perform properly; but my memory doesn’t help me finding if it has ever happened specifically since the present Chief Minister has taken over.

Now, looking at the other duty of it I feel the Legislature has made a farce of it. August 27, 2008 will be remembered for this farce. As many as five Bills have been adopted this day without application of collective legislative mind! That the House was adjourned 13 times on this day, as noisiness could not be controlled is enough to indicate under what environment the Bills were adopted.

Adoption of so many Bills including the Orissa Excise Bill, 2008 within an hour (as many as four Bills were passed within 34 minutes!) sans detail democratic discussion and that too under high-pitch uproars over collapse of law and order in the State that had totally shattered the audibility in the House is a phenomenon that may not look technically unlegislative; but it can hardly help their fair implementation as in absence of interpellant participation of legislators in their passing, legislative intention, which is most important for correct administration of law, has not been properly promoted, vetted and defined.

For more than three decades I have been covering the sessions of Orissa Assembly, but such mockery in making Laws had never been seen.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

BJP leader L.K.Advani and media organization CNN-IBN have preferred Hindu sectarian leader Laxmanananda’s posthumous misuse against Leftist ultras through premature assertions that Naxals have killed him, when, his own organization Viswa Hindu Parisad that is supposed to know where the shoe really pinched has declared that it is the Christian fanatics who are the real killers.

Both the assertions are premature and irresponsible specifically as the matter is under active investigation by rightful authorities.

We have earlier discussed that religious revivalism that has ruined the peace and tranquility of tribal belt is meant to counter Naxal influence by pushing peoples into the labyrinth of fate so that they can tolerate economic exploitation by accepting their wretchedness as the result of sins they might have committed in previous birth. So religious revivalism, conversions and counter-conversions and acrimonious sectarian quarrels practiced by both the Hindu and Christian chauvinists are not meant for making peoples religious but are promoted by Indian capitalism and American imperialism to stop evolution of exploited peoples’ conscious rising for their economic rights by blocking the spread of Naxal influence. In other words, rival religion practitioners are not their enemy; the real enemy is the Naxal organization. Therefore, Advani was quite eager to attribute Laxmanananda’s annihilation to the Naxals only.

Naxals are known as politically aggressive advocates of wretchedly poor and blatantly exploited peoples’ economic rights. Therefore to oppose them is a clear act of exploitive political activism. Advani is an exploitive political activist. When peoples of Orissa had raised the first ever Indian mass movement against deliberate price rise by profiteers and hoarders and blackmarketeers in the early eighties, Advani had instigated marwadis to observe Diwali as ‘Black Diwali” in protest against the Orissan movement. So there is nothing unusual in his attempts to make propaganda that Naxals have killed Laxmanananda. And he has not done any wrong by that, because that is the right way in pursuit of his political creed and nothing other than that is expected of him. In doing this he has just extended the mission of Laxmanananda in a political way that he is supposed to do as a right wing politician.

But why a media organization like CNN-IBN has ignored the minimum professional discipline needed in such cases and shown so eagerness to use Laxmanananda posthumously against the Naxals?

Conduct of this organization in cash for confidence vote matter exposed recently is yet alive in mass memory. Therefore it attracts suspicion in matter of its motive in trading this most premature but prejudiced propaganda that Naxals have killed Laxmanananda, the master craftsman of counter-conversions so dear to Hindu ultras.

Advani and this media organization look like close collaborators in frustrating the peoples who love democracy, peace and tranquility and want inequality to honorably end.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A stalwart of Hindu religious revivalism Laxmanananda Saraswati has been shot dead while resting in a female child asylum at Tumudibandha of Kandhamal district along with five others at about 8.30 in the evening of August 23.

RSS alleges that Christian religious fanatics have killed Laxmananand who was very active in foiling their attempts to Christianize the tribals and hence was in their hit list.

Orissa has experienced a lot of communal conflict due to religious revivalism. Laxmanananda was a known agent provocateur whom the Law and order authorities a few months ago had prohibited to enter into Phulbani in order to contain communal carnages.

Plutocracy, ushered into India by Manmohan Singh infested Congress and pampered by profiteers’ political organ BJP, is eager to keep the jungle-dweller tribes subdued forever as it is only they, who can valiantly resist the spread of industry and trade that needs to grab their land and to destroy their environment to proceed and profit.

Therefore plutocracy is apprehensive of a tribal uprising, specifically as, abandoned by mainstream politicians and exploited by local bureaucrats and middlemen and contractors and moneylenders and traders, they have got a strong ally in the left-wing ultras that the exploiters and their pet media go on projecting as Naxals or Maoists. The left-wing ultras have given the tribes their voice to raise demands for their economic rights and as evidenced in spread of Naxal influence from district to district, the poor peoples’ voice of demand for their economic right is stronger day by day. This is fidgeting the scoundrels that are exploiting the peoples.

As this new phase of peoples uprising is getting more defined, the precipitators of plutocracy are using a two-pronged strategy. One, they are using state exchequer to instigate armed forces to annihilate the left-wing ultras in blatant contravention of the civil laws in force and two, they are encouraging religious revivalists to confuse peoples into the fold of fate so that plutocracy gets a good shock-absorber to surge ahead. This is why in Orissa’s tribal areas where left-wing ultras are active, religious revivalists are seen aggressively active.

When the armed forces engaged against left-wing ultras are not ready to block the poor peoples’ demand for economic rights, the religious revivalists are intrinsic to plutocracy and are active supporters of plutocratic power play as plutocracy for survival fully depends on existence of God or Gods that the religious revivalists create, propagate and protect.

So religious revivalism is a political game aimed at putting exploiters in power. No game is a game if rivals are not there. Naturally therefore, there is bitter rivalry between the Christian and Hindu fanatics in Kandhamal and similar other places. Hindu religious chauvinists are marked for their support to Indian capitalists when Christian religious fanatics are active collaborators of foreign capitalist interest in India. There rivalry is not religious but in the guise of religion it in reality is a politico-economic rivalry that in other words may be said as national versus international rivalry in serving the system of exploitation. No wonder, it is bitter.

This bitter rivalry has led to death of Laxmanananda. If anybody is to take note of this, it is the religious revivalist of all hue, primarily.

They should note that if their foul play against poor people in the name of religion does not stop, time will come, no God would come to their rescue as Laxmananand’s God has notably failed to save him. As dinosaurs supposedly killed each other and got extinct, the religious revivalists would kill each other as bloody stooges of politico-economic rivals both in the national and international arenas.

Orissa’s Tumuribandha may just be the beginning.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Assembly failed to proceed beyond fourteen minutes on 22nd August. Despite stout denial of the charges by the Deputy Speaker Mr. Prahllad Dora in the Press, his daughter-in-law Smita’s allegations were too serious to be ignored by the Opposition in the floor of the House.

Smita has lodged a complaint with the Police at Jeypore against Dora alleging that he had deliberately suppressed the fact that his son was already married and having a wife before he conducted the marriage of his son Chinmoy with her around one and a half month ago.

The marriage fixed at a dowry of Rs.1 lakh eventually made Smita’s father Subas Majhi cough up Rs.2 lakhs in cash over and above the ancillaries like gold ornaments and household gadgets; but to her, most unbearable is her shattered status as a legitimate wife.

She is, in the eyes of law, an illegitimate wife in view of her husband’s earlier marriage.

When she protested against this foul play and demanded for production of the court order of separation, if any, between Chinmoy and his first wife, she was tortured and kept in house arrest, she has alleged. When Dora has denied this part of her allegation, he has kept mum on the issue of first marriage of his son.

Smita is apprehensive of sloughing over of the allegation by police, as Dora being a political heavyweight, the Police have not yet shown any promptness in investigating the matter. Rather the police seemed to be very inclement, she has alleged. Therefore, she is considering knocking at the door of Orissa Women’s Rights Commission.

Her parents wonder as to why a respected politician like Dora could resort to such nasty tricks and ruin their daughter by tying her up in marriage to his son, who was already married? Was dowry the only motive?

The members of the ruling coalition are trying to hide their embarrassment even though there is no dearth of their opposition to Opposition’s demand for action against the Deputy Speaker as is marked in the hit generated over the issue that led to adjournment of the Assembly to August 25.

Chief Minister Navin Patnaik, as is his wont, has stoically stated that the law will take its own course in this matter. But he has no guts to react on Smita’s allegation that she has lost confidence in the Police, as it has not taken up investigation in the matter so far.

Why the Police are sleeping, as apprehended by the victim? When the Law shall start taking its course? Should not the CM apprise the House of that?


Ruling BJD has on August 19 finally replaced its man in the Speaker’s chair at the eve of Orissa Assembly’s monsoon session to commence from August 20.

The new man is Sri Kishore Mohanty, representing Jharsuguda.

Sri Maheswar Mohanty whom Kishore replaces was to relinquish his post as a lady marshal of the Assembly raised allegations of sexual harassment against him, notwithstanding that she has made the allegations after being subjected to disciplinary charges for severe dereliction in duty.

The State Human Rights Commission had enquired into the matter and found Maheswar not guilty of the offences attributed to him. The lady marshal had not given any evidence to substantiate her allegations, the Commission had held.

Maheswar had withdrawn from presiding over the House the moment the allegations were made against him and wanted to be investigated. So, in fact, he had not belittled the image of the Speaker in any manner in this matter. Rather his steps deserve to be recognized as democratically correct steps.

After his innocence was established in the Rights commission investigation, it should have been proper for BJD to reset him as the candidate for the post again. But, politics is now not based on probity and commitment. No wonder, Maheswar has been replaced.

The new Speaker is known for his manners. He has adequate political experience in handling tricky situations.

But this being the last year in the life of the current Assembly, he has no much time to prove his mantle as chief of the rampart of democracy in Orissa.

He can of course do a great service to the assembly if he summons reports from members on how best have they used the computers and laptops they were given by the assembly for constituency use. Barring exceptions like Ranendra Pratap Swain of Athgarh, most of the members have not used their systems for the peoples and projects under their respective constituencies. He should take stock of this and members who fail to show the details of constituency use of the computers should be asked to surrender them to the Assembly in perfect condition failing which steps for recovery should be initiated.

Otherwise, the new speaker shall remain in public mind as just a political man in the chair, not a new one in true sense of newness.