Orissa Congress Chief is Partially Correct: Congress Leaders Sabotaged the Congress

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

By openly alleging that some of the Congress leaders have sabotaged the party in election, President of Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee Sri Jayadev Jena has conceded defeat even three weeks before the EVMs are to come to the counting tables. He is partially correct; because he has limited his allegations only to some unidentified Congress leaders of Orissa, whereas it is the central leadership of Congress that has sabotaged the Congress in Orissa again.

This election had tremendous possibilities of victory for the Congress. Everywhere there was a strong undercurrent against Naveen Patnaik. By orientation, people of Orissa are averse to the communalist BJP. Hence BJP was not supposed to benefit from the undercurrent against Naveen. On the other hand, none of the other parties – mostly, personal attires of Pyari Mohan Mohapatra (Orissa Jana Morcha), Soumya Ranjan Patnaik (Ama Odisha), Aira Kharavela Swain (Utkal Bharata) – and left parties with no serious approach to the election, were not expected to win. So, it was only the Congress that could have acquired most of Orissa Assembly seats this time.

But for Sonia Gandhi, Naveen was not to be defeated. Like every time since Naveen Patnaik has occupied Orissa, the so-called high command of Congress has sabotaged the electoral prospects of Congress in Orissa. Members of the Congress Party in Orissa are yet to decode this mystery.

Riding on sympathy wave on death of Biju Patnaik, a wave that, in fact, in order to show his magnanimity as chief Minister, J. B. Patnaik had created by eulogizing on the man whom people had disdainfully thrown into the dustbin of time, Naveen had given such a misrule, that, the people had started repenting for having him elected.

The astute politician J. B. Patnaik, in his new avatar as PCC chief, was quite efficiently and effectively steering the campaign against malfunctioning of the BJD-BJP government and many members of the cabinet, who had founded the BJD, were also getting disillusioned and irritated over the preening prince of Bijudom.

The situation had become so anarchic that the whole of Orissa was rising against Naveen.

At that juncture, Pyari Mohan Mohapatra had come to his rescue.

He had advised Naveen to dismiss some of his ministers, notwithstanding them being founder members of BJD, by giving an impression to the public that they were dismissed on grounds of corruption.

This single trick gave a new twist to public thinking on Naveen Patnaik, as they compared Naveen’s action against his close colleagues on allegations of corruption with J.B.Patnaik’s corruption-raj wherein fellows like Indrajit Ray and Basant Biswal were given full protection. This had immediately turned the rising public aversion to Naveen Patnaik into strong public admiration for him.

Yet, his conduct as Chief Minister was too deficient to fetch for him a fresh mandate.

POSCO had already put its eyes on Orissa by then; and for Sonia-led Congress, in that context, continuance of Naveen in the Chief Minister’s chair was more important than victory of its own candidates.

Congress high Command ensured defeat of the Congress in Orissa, not only by jettisoning J.B. Patnaik from the leadership of the province, but also by giving tickets to tainted fellows whom Naveen had dismissed on grounds of corruption.

In order to help Naveen rule the roost, Congress High Command had then appointed a lightweight Jayadev Jena as PCC Chief and used fellows like the Madhya Pradesh scrap Digvijaya Singh to damage whatever semblance of determination was still alive in Orissa PCC leaders to fetch victory for their Party.

Naveen recaptured power, simply because, there was no real opposition to him from the Congress.

However, when the lightweight Jayadev Jena, sans any ability to know how deep was Congress high command’s secret agenda to keep Naveen in the Gadi of Orissa, succeeded in bridging the gap between rival groups of the party and a new hope for success of Congress was discernible in the political horizon, he was suddenly replaced with K.P.Singhdeo, to save the people from the tyranny of whose family, the Congress Party spangled with the Communists in freedom movement, had made spellbinding sacrifices, Baisnab Patnaik absorbing the bullets and Baji Raut entering into martyrdom.

Promulgating himself as “soldier of Sonia Gandhi”, Singhdeo created such a climate that the election was lost to the Congress, when it was sure to win, had Jayadev Jena not been removed.

The Congress members and admirers were shocked to the core; but none of them could dare to confront the central leadership with this reality.

It was clear that KP was killing the Congress.

Howsoever feeble, voice against imposition of her “soldier” by Sonia on members of the Pradesh Congress gathered audible proportion and lest the secret agenda of Sonia to help the POSCO agent in power in Orissa get exposed, hoodwinking assurances were given to Orissa Congress members that no more the leadership would be imposed from above.

They were told to elect their own President and the process started from the block level.

But when the process had reached the final stage and only the PCC President was to be elected, it was clear to the Congress high command that Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra was sure to win. His election as PCC Chief was sure to be most disadvantageous to Naveen.

So, at the last moment, just before the election of the PCC chief, a Sonia emissary stymied the election and shepherded the PCC members to adopt a resolution authorizing Sonia Gandhi to decide who should head the PCC.
And eventually Sonia appointed Niranjan Patnaik to head the PCC.

Patnaik, though a seasoned politician, had also no idea that any strong campaign against Naveen was not to please Sonia to whom the South Korean POSCO was not to be displeased.

Jagdish Tytler was used to destroy the effect of the spectacular rally Niranjan had organized after taking over the PCC reign. Lest the rally be viewed as appropriate expression of mass resentment against Naveen’s misrule and a turning point in favor of the Congress, Tytler instigated enthusiasts to make force-entry into the Assembly, even as anti-Congress agent provocateurs were in their notorious best. Despite this, the legislative wing of the Congress was very ably exposing the Naveen misrule and to cite an instance, had devastated Naveen in the matter of pulse scandal. Sonia sent Tytler again to leash the legislative wing and to the utter frustration of every Congress MLA, their just steps against Naveen were forced to be withdrawn.

And, when election 2014 was due, Niranjan was discarded to revive Jayadev Jena as PCC chief!

Situation was made so sour that the Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh had to leave the Congress at the verge of election to seek an asylum in the camp of Naveen!

This site has all along exposed the motive of the Congress High Command based on circumstantial evidences. There are many disquisitions in these pages on this subject. But I would like you to peruse the following essays to get necessary glimpses of how the central leadership of Congress has continuously sabotaged the Orissa Pradesh Congress to ensure safe continuance of Naveen Patnaik in power. Jayadev Jena will specifically gain if he wants to find out who has really sabotaged the Congress in Orissa. Here are the essays:

Congress is confused
Elections ahead: Congress versus Congress in Orissa

Congress in suicide mode: Bizarre business in Orissa politics

Congress emerges as a party of contradictions in Orissa
Agents of foreign interest flock together: Congress denies tickets to active opponents of Naveen
Election of PCC Chief stopped since Lulu would be disadvantageous to Naveen
Tytler’s visit was meant to suppress the legislative conscience of CLP members

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Chidambaram could not have dared to contest: But Judiciary should be ashamed of how it helped him stay in power for the whole term

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram is not contesting for the Loksabha.

It is being touted that he has opted out of the race. Wrong. He is not in the race, because he could not have dared to contest.

Had he dared to contest, he could not have suppressed the fact that he has not yet proved that he had not acted against the Republic of India. Electoral malpractice is a serious offense against the Republic and he is facing the prosecution for having resorted to electoral malpractice in Election Petition No.5 of 2009 filed by R. S. Raja Kannapan.

Besides documented allegations of bribe given in cash to voters directly through agents and indirectly through bank officials in form of assistances, there are serious allegations about his misusing the Returning Officer to be declared the winner, when, in fact, majority of the voters of his constituency had voted against him.

Kannapan’s allegation on this particular count is that, he had won the election by bagging more votes than Chidambaram. But the scenario was force-changed by Chidambaram, who used the Returning Officer of an Assembly segment of his Parliamentary constituency in manipulating the votes counted in the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th rounds in Alangudi. The R.O. and other election officials in connivance with him, added the votes secured by Kannapan to the kitty of Chidambaram, as per allegation. Had the manipulation not been done, Kannapan would have been declared elected by a margin of 7,034 votes, the election petition says.

Chidambaram is facing the prosecution that demands nullification of his election on this ground too. The prosecution’s case is registered as 5 of 2004.

Chidambaram has not filed any counter in the case so far, but has hoodwinked the Court to continue as elected candidate, by trying to stymie the case through applications for its rejection on flimsy grounds time and again.

In rejecting his last application, The High Court of Madras, on 7.6.2012 observed, “The said application filed on 21.12.2009 was dismissed on 04.08.2011. The present application seems to have been filed on 11.07.2011 just before the pronouncement of the order in the original application. The present application was filed under Order XIV Rule 8 of the High Court Rules r/w Order VI Rule 16 and Order VII Rule 11 of CPC and Sections 81, 82, 86, 100(1), (b), (d) (ii), (iii), (iv) and 123 of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951”.

This observation, however, makes it clear that, while failing to counter the charges of electoral malpractice including manipulation of votes through the channel of the Election Commission represented through the Returning Officer, Chidambaram – Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s closest collaborator in sabotaging the main thrust of India’s Constitution as far as its political economy is concerned – has illegitimately remained a member of the Loksabha by blocking the Court to complete the case.

Election Laws make it a must for a candidate to declare about charges of illegalities he/she is facing or has been found guilty of.

Had Chidambaram dared to contest, he must have been bound to swear an affidavit showing the pending election case, which is a case over his offense against the Republic of India, as manipulation of votes is nothing but an assault on what constitutes the very essence of the existence of a democratic republic.

So, the fidgeting Chidambaram has not dared to contest. But we Indians have the right to be ashamed of our judiciary’s collaboration with such offenders, as despite his dilatory tactics judicially rejected, the Court could not complete the case, as a result of which, he completed the whole term as a member of the Loksabha whereto his constituency had refused him entry.

It is essential for the Supreme Court to take stock of how many election cases stay pending in various courts for the whole term of election, rendering thereby the election laws totally inconsequential. Earlier in these pages I had argued that the Judiciary should have election benches/tribunals – like the green tribunal – dedicated only to election petitions as otherwise the fellows that criminalize politics and manipulate elections shall continue to rule the roost, despite refusal of mandate to them by the voters, taking advantage of paucity of time in High Courts or the Appex Court, to decide the election cases. The Apex Court should wake up to this call before mandate 2014 is delivered by the people.

And, in Chidambaram’s case, his membership of the outgoing Loksabha be nullified with retrospective effect if his electoral malpractices are established. He should then be punished for treason against the Republic of India, so that such offenses do not occur in future and the nation is not hoodwinked by rabid betrayers of the country. It is essential that Indian democracy is saved from becoming hollower.

Sivaganga Shows Us How Hollow Has Become Indian Democracy

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Sivaganga representative in the Loksabha, P. Chidambaram has failed in his case against the election case filed against him in the Madras High Court. Yet he has remained the Home Minister of India and asserts that there are 111 election cases pending against elected MPs in Courts in the country and, hence, there is no necessity for him to resign.

His challenger Mr. Raja Kannappan of AIDMK claims that he had secured 3,34,348 votes as against Chidambaram’s 3,30,994. But by manipulation, the powerful central minister was declared elected by a margin of 3,354 votes. Among many other allegations found triable by the Court, one is: bribing of thousands of women voters belonging to self-help groups at the rate of Rs.500 each through his son Karti Chidambaram.

Chidambaram had tried to get the election petition quashed, first on technical ground, which the Court had turned down. Then he had filed a misc case seeking rejection of the election petition on the ground that it does not disclose any cause of action. This misc case is rejected too, with the observation that cause of action is convincingly disclosed.

The Court on June 7 has said, “A perusal of the various averments made in the election petition shows that sufficient material facts were made and it discloses cause of action for trial of the election petition. It also contains adequate statement of material facts on which the allegations of irregularities or illegalities in counting were founded … The contention that the election petition does not disclose any cause of action cannot be accepted.”

So, even before the final verdict comes on the election petition, it is established that Kannappan has adduced sufficient and strong material facts to justify Chidambaram’s trial for corrupt practices in election.

It is strange that instead of cooperating with the Court to close the case on proper hearing within the stipulated time, Chidambaram has played the dilatory tactics of filing misc cases one after one and stayed a MP and a Minister by stymieing the process of law, thereby denying the people of Sivaganga their legitimate right to be represented in the Loksabha without any stink of infection on democracy.

The shrewd fellows like Chidambaram are able to hijack democracy because of lack of exemplary punishment and because of absence of specific election courts.

Elsewhere in these pages we have, time and again, stressed upon creation of Election Courts in every state or Election Benches in every High Court and also in the Supreme Court with the only assignment of deciding election petitions.

From Chidambaram’s assertions it transpires that, like him, there are one hundred and eleven MPs, who are facing election cases, which means, in those 111 Loksabha constituencies, people are, because of delay in disposal of the cases, in dark about whether they have legal representation in the rampart of democracy.

Fortunately for R.P.Swain of my area, his petition has ended in his favor in both the Orissa High Court and the Supreme Court, a bit earlier; as a result of which, re-election has already been held in Athgarh_Tigiria and he has returned to the Assembly, whereby the people of my area have been able to have their legitimate representation in Orissa Assembly.

But the people of Sivaganga Loksabha Constituency are devoid of this opportunity as yet. So also, people of 111 Loksabha Constituencies in the country, of which Chidambaram has mentioned to pooh-pooh the Opposition demand for his resignation.

The fellows who manipulate elections also manipulate judicial systems to stay in illegal occupation of berths in Legislatures; because there is no specific Election Courts to decide the election cases within stipulated time.

Under subsection (6) of section 86 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 the High Courts are required to adjudicate upon election petitions continuously on “day to day” basis until their conclusion, whereas subsection (7) declares that “every election petition shall be tried as expeditiously as possible and endeavor shall be made to conclude the trial within six months from the date on which the election petition is presented to the High Court on trial.”

But normally as the High Courts are overloaded with cases of all natures, disposal of election cases, though essential for democracy, are in most cases, not even heard within the life time of a House constituted on the basis of the elections challenged.

This being a reality, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission had recommended for setting up of Special Election Tribunals to expedite timely disposal of election petitions.

But, as non-existence of such specific Tribunals/Courts are more suitable to shrewd fellows who occupy legislative berths illegally and become ministers, the above recommendation is never attended to.

Therefore, in these pages, we have been harping on about the necessity of creation of such Tribunals/Courts by Supreme Court through appropriate case laws.

In Chidambaram matter, howsoever belated it be, the Court has now removed the stymie he had cleverly put to its proceeding in the main case.

Instead of welcoming the decision and assuring to cooperate with the Court to conclude the case as quickly as possible by hearing the case “from day to day”, Chidambaram has started bragging about how his case is one of 111 such cases pending in the Courts!

Had he been any idiot in politics, the braggadocio could have been not such offensive. But he is the Home Minister of India. And, his conduct affects the country.

Will the Prime Minister wake up?

He is appointed and continues in the cabinet on the pleasure of the Prime Minister. So, it is incumbent upon the Prime Minister to say as to whether his Home Minister should resign following the rejection of his plea in the election case against him or continue to convert the case to a time-consuming instance of legal acrobatics till the life span of the present Loksabha passes away and the election case becomes infructuous.

Otherwise, this case shall show us, how hollow has become Indian democracy in the hands of Dr. Singh and his team.

Election 2009: Returned Candidate’s Plea Rejected in the High Court, But Far Away is Justice for the Rejected Candidate

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In the 2009 election for Orissa Assembly, Returning Officers were used to reject the nomination papers of candidates that were seemingly disadvantageous to the ruling party.

In only these pages, this aspect is discussed in matter of Ranendra Pratap Swain in Athgarh as an instance.

Exposed only in orissamatters.com, – no other media had touched this point – the ruling party, after defeat of its conspiracy in even the Supreme Court, in the Court caused reelection, had to make Swain its candidate again to save its face and to keep the Constituency under its clutch, as Swain was certainly to win.

North Bhubaneswar is another instance where the Returning Officer “improperly and illegally rejected” the nomination papers of promising candidate Gyanendra Kumar Tripathy as a result of which the ruling party candidate Bhagirathi Badajena could bag the seat.

Tripathy preferred an Election Petition (Election Petition No.8 of 2009) in the High Court of Orissa. Badajena adopted dilatory tactics by filing objection to its maintainability, which the Court registered as a Misc. Case (Misc. Case No.6 of 2010) and once the Misc. Case was registered, took several adjournments, though he was legally required to prove his points sans any delay. Had he not played the dilatory tactics, the Misc. Case as well as the Election Case could have been decided in 2010.

Badajena had coined his Misc. Case on false and baseless pleas; but as there were points of law, the Court could not instantly reject his objection and posted the case to hear him. he did not cooperate and continued to seek adjournments as a result of which so vast time had to elapse in deciding the Misc.Case.

Justice Indrajit Mohanty ultimately heard the Misc. Case on 12 March 2012 and has delivered his judgment on 18 April 2012.

He has rejected the pleas of Badajena (the returned candiade) in a brilliant analysis of all the points of law he had raised and the baseless allegation he had made in attempt to mislead the Court. As for example, absence of an affidavit in Form No. 25 was made a point of objection to Tripathy’s case, claiming that Section 81(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and Rule 94 of Election Rules make such affidavit in this particular Form an unavoidable must for maintenance of an Election Case. But this Form is a must only if the election dispute is raised on the ground of “corrupt practices” and not otherwise. “On a careful reading” (Para 13 of the judgment) of the election petition the Court found that “there is no specific allegation of “corrupt practice” made by the election petitioner. Justice Mohanty has clearly mentioned, “I am of the considered view that since the election petitioner has not made any allegation of corrupt practice in his election petition, there is no requirement for him to make any affidavit in Form No.25 of Election Rules, 1961”.

So, on basis of factuality and in analysis of points of laws such as on animo attestendi and “substantial compliance” of the requirement of Section 81(3) of the 1951 Act, Justice Mohanty has rejected Badajena’s questions on maintainability of the Election Despute raised by Tripathy.

So, the hindrance willfully created by the returned candidate to decision on the election dispute has been appropriately removed by the High Court of Orissa.

Justice for Tripathy should no more be delayed. The Court should now follow the precedence it has created in Athgarh case. Yet, as there is no specific election bench of the Court, we apprehend, justice for Tripathy is far away.

In this context, we again put our emphasis on the need of separate and specific Election Bench to give justice to election petitioners that are victims of the mischiefs played by the Returning Officers and other players that endanger Democracy.

Swain Returns to Assembly // NOW THE QUESTION IS: WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO THE PERIOD UNDER NULLIFICATION?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Ranendra Pratap Swain, victim of BJD’s internecine leg-pulling in 2009 elections to Orissa Assembly won the re-election at Athgarh, which he could have also won at that time had his party not sabotaged him, using the Returning Officer in illegal rejection of his nomination papers.

BJD had spent, according to a source in that party, about a crore of Rupees against Swain in litigations up to the Supreme Court by engaging, off the records, costliest lawyers of the country in defense of Swain’s rival, Ramesh Raut.

Raut was working like a pageboy in BJD office before being clandestinely readied to file nomination papers against Swain, that had made him de facto candidate of that party after success of the scheme to keep Swain out of fray.

Where from he got the massive amount of money to defray the costliest lawyers’ charges? Possibilities are two: (1) the BJD that had coined the scheme to block Swain’s re-entry into the Assembly for reasons discussed earlier in these pages, had borne Raut’s litigation cost. (2) after being elected to the Assembly, Raut had amassed such massive amount of money that he had no difficulty in defraying the huge cost of litigation.

When there are peons and night watchmen that have become multimillionaires by exploiting the climate of corruption the Naveen Patnaik’s government has created in Orissa, it cannot be said that it was not possible for Raut to amass huge money after being a MLA in the same climate .

But which of the above two possibilities is the reality can be ascertained if official agencies detecting tax evasion are asked to investigate into Raut’s litigation cost.

Swain’s return that has exposed the foul play BJD had played at Athgarh craves investigations into the financial foul play enacted in the intervening period, which is yet kept shrouded under mystery as yet, though it smacks of secret income and tax evasion.

But as far as Orissa Assembly is concerned, the question that Swain’s return has raised is unique and urgent.

The Orissa High Court had stripped layer by layer the illegalities resorted to in rejection of Swain’s nomination papers and declared the election in Athgarh null and void. Raut had challenged the HC verdict in the Supreme Court, but failed. So, legally, election of 2009 in Athgarh was no election.

In view of this, Raut’s participation, if any, in the Assembly must stand obliterated with retrospective effect. Had the Court order does not allow Raut to have any life as a member of the Assembly as his election is declared null and void.

So, now, it is the minimum duty of the Speaker to delete from Assembly records the participation of Raut in its entirety. When he is legally not a member since the day of his election, his oath as a member of the House must also be deleted. Therefore, all the salaries and perquisites he has received as MLA must be must be calculated in terms of money and recovered from him with retrospective effect. The Assembly accounts section should immediately be asked to complete this calculation and communicate the the same to him demanding recovery thereof. If the Speaker prefers to waive such dues, he can do so maximum up to the day of the High Court order. The HC order had unseated him with retrospective effect. Had he resigned immediately, the salaries and other benefits he had drawn might have seemed justifies, as, on the strength of the election, he had participated in the Assembly businesses till that day. But by not resigning from membership and going instead to the Supreme Court, he had continue as a member subject to decision of the Supreme Court and drawn the salaries and perquisites commutable in terms of money at his own risk. So, from the day of the High Court order till the day of his termination, whatever he has received materially from the Assembly was undue receipt. The Speaker has no prerogative to waive the dues he has received unduly by pursuing the luxury of litigation in the Supreme Court.

So, besides deletion of every participation of Raut from the Assembly records, it is incumbent upon the Speaker to recover from Raut the money he has unduly drawn from the House and to declare Swain as the representative of the Assembly with retrospective effect from the 2009 elections, activating his membership only from the day of his oath taking for financial purpose.

Anything else would create wrong precedences in handling the period of nullification as the election of 2009 in Athgarh has been declared unchangeably null and void.

To People of Athgarh, Ranendra Pratap Swain Should be the Choice

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Athgarh being my home area, where there are people who genuinely love me and often seek my advice even in their personal/family matters, I wonder, what should my people do in the re-election from Athgarh constituency to Orissa Legislative Assembly?

Had I not been on a foreign tour, I would have campaigned for Ranendra Pratap Swain, because, I feel he should be the choice.

His only drawback is that he is a BJD candidate. Again, it is his plus point.

Let me elaborate.

The viewers of orissamatters.com know that I have shown in earlier discussions how BJD had conspired to keep Swain out of the Assembly, as it is he, who, despite being in the treasury benches, was the voice of conscience against whatever wrong the government was carrying out. Under pressure from above, the Athgarh Returning Officer had replaced his original party ticket lying in his safe custody with a xerox copy and rejected his nomination on the ground of non-submission of the original and inked document. I could have taken it that, keeping the issuance of the party ticket pending till the last moment, the BJD office had issued only the xeroxed copy of the ticket with the party stamp to Swain with the hope that with no time left to submit the papers, he would rush to the RO office and submit the same sans verification at his end. Swain being the sitting MLA had no reason to disbelieve the ticket so received from the party. The issuer of the ticket must have calculated this in advance; as otherwise, a pageboy of Swain’s local office at Athgarh could not have been ready with his papers before Swain and submitted the same and ultimately emerged as the party supported independent candidate dazzling the voters with active campaign conducted in his support by the BJD supremo-cum-Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. But the way, the same pageboy fought the election case up to the Supreme Court engaging costliest lawyers of the country, with the party keeping mum over the entire period, made me convinced that BJD had deliberately played the trick. To represent such a party is not a compelling cause for choice.

But, yet, this is Swain’s plus point.

That, the same BJD has made him its candidate is a victory for Swain. He has made his party understand that its steps were wrong. Despite the discernible subterfuge, Swain has never gone against BJD and its President. This is the greatest proof of his adherence to discipline and principle, which has become very rare in politics.

This is why I feel Swain should be the choice of my people at Athgarh.

It would be not out of place to mention of how forty poor persons have died most pathetically last month in areas not quite distant from Athgarh by consuming liquor, allegedly spurious, leading to resignation of A.U.Singhdeo, the Excise Minister of the relevant day.

This reminds me of Kalandi Behera, the then Excise Minister, who had to resign on 25 April, 2006 after liquor, allegedly spurious, had taken toll of 39 lives in Ganjam, the district of the Chief Minister. Behera had planned to open liquor shops in every nook and corner of Orissa including school areas. And, to fulfill his purpose, an excise policy was created under Notification No.520/2004/1410/Ex dated 28.2.2005. I was the first and the only one to have attacked this evil design in these pages on August 28,2005 under the caption “Orissa is in the worst phase of her life”. Naveen Patnaik’s government wanted to legalize Behera’s design by giving it the shape of a Law. Orissa Excise Bill 2005 was accordingly produced. Before the Bill was adopted, Behera had to go as people of Ganjam started abusing the Chief Minister openly alleging that he was patronizing the hooch mafia as no action was taken against the culprits even after repeated death due to spurious liquor.

After Behera resigned, Debi Prasad Mishra, who represents Baramba constituency from my Sub-Division, succeeded him and the Bill was revived.

Famous Gandhian Smt. Sarala Devi campaigned against the Bill. No political heavyweight was seen supporting Sarala Devi. None from BJD, particularly. As she did not get any active political support from even the Opposition (the Congress party) (and the BJP-now in Opposition- was then in Naveen’s coalition government ), she tried to make a written appeal to members of the Assembly wishing their conscience to wake up to reject the Bill. But she was not permitted to enter into the Assembly premises to do that.

It is Ranendra Pratap Swain alone who stood with Sarala Devi without any care for official position of the Bill. He circulated Sarala Devi’s emotionally charged letter amongst all the members of the House inside the Hall and succeeded in stopping the instant passage of the Bill. It was then sent to a select committee formed with Swain as a member.

It was everybody’s impressions that the government was determined to get the Bill get the select committee approval. But Swain, despite being a ruling party frontbencher, stoutly opposed the intent of the Bill and the select committee had to pass it with single note of descent that Swain had expressed.

This is why I feel Swain should be the choice of my people at Athgarh.

It is Swain again who to the chagrin of the CM had supported the protest of Sambalpur region farmers and general public against allocation of water from Hirakud reservoir to big industries.
It is he, and only he amongst BJD MLAs, who had vehemently opposed the official proposal to give Anil Agrawal 10,000 Acres of land for Vedant University at Puri.

He was the man who had on records supported the Niyamagiri campaign and demanded that the mines monger be not allowed to tamper with living environment and natural faith epitome of the tribes.

In the Assembly, every now and then, Swain was seen as the pro-people voice against administration as and when executive steps seemed anti-people.

This is why I feel Swain should be the choice of my people at Athgarh.

In Athgarh, Swain is being challenged mainly by the Congress and the BJP. When the Congress under prime-ministership of Dr. Manmohan Singh has been working as an agent organization of American interest and has been actively pursuing a nuclear deal that Singh has signed with USA on dotted lines, which, in reality is coined to provide a “bonanza for US firms” (Reuters, August 25, 2007) and “is so clearly in the interest of the United States” (Reuters, August 14, 2007), the BJP reminds us how, when in power, it had drowned the country so much in corruption and destruction of India’s public sector while coloring its misrule as Bharata Udaya that the Election Commission had to use force to put under cover its hoardings, built up all over India by misusing national exchequer. Notwithstanding who are the candidates of these two parties, it would be contributing to nullification of awareness against corruption and misrule if any of them get electoral support.

On the other hand, despite all its failing and anti-people activities, BJD stands on the ground of allegiance to Orissa as the State’s only regional party. Orissa needs a strong political party of her own for safeguarding the interests of the State. In these pages, I have severely criticized Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for his failings and for misrule. Yet, to me, BJD is better than the Congress and the BJP in in absence of a strong communist alternative. It is Orissa’s own party and should be considered a permanent feature as leaders are always temporary. It should not be allowed to be defeated by either the Congress or the BJP, for misguided faults of its leader.

In a political party where its leader is known by the epithet ‘supremo’, sycophants are the greater dangers than the so-called supremo himself. From the few instances I have mentioned above, it is clear that Swain is not a sycophant.

This is why I feel Swain should be the choice of my people at Athgarh.

ATHGARH: RE-ELECTION ON THE ANVIL; YET FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES ARE STILL TO BE ADDRESSED

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The wrong the Election Commission of India had done to people of Athgarh by not intervening in illegal rejection of sitting member Ranendra Pratap Swain’s nomination papers by the Returning Officer in 2009 general election to Orissa Assembly has clamped a fresh election on the voters of the constituency, though the RO, for whose foul play the by-election is necessitated, is not yet punished.

Orissa High Court, on hearing of the case preferred by Swain, had declared the election of ruling party factotum Ramesh Raut null-and-void, which meant, Raut was to be unseated since the very day of his election. But, the secret agents of derailment of democracy, who in the ruling party had contrived the method of using the RO to keep Swain away from the Assembly as he was in habit of castigating the government on the floor of the House for misrule in various departments, did not allow the HC order to work and instead invested massive money in challenging the same in the Supreme Court. Ultimately they failed and therefore the by-election is now on the anvil. The EC will formally issue necessary notifications on Feb.22 and the voters will cast their votes on March 18, if no sudden change of scenario intervenes.

But the by-election is not the final solution to the issues at stake. If they are not solved, we shall have no hesitation in saying that the EC of India, the Supreme Court of India as well as the Speaker of Orissa Legislative Assembly are failing in their duties to democracy.

The Election Commission

As we have discussed in these pages, there is serious lacuna in our electoral system that allows any one who can gain over a RO to make anybody including a prime-ministerial candidate debarred from contesting by getting the officer reject his/her nomination papers on the day of finalizing the list of valid candidates, at a time, when he/she shall have no time to correct the defects, if any.

It had happened in Athgarh.

The RO had received Swain’s papers duly filed and kept them in his custody till the day of preparation of the list of valid candidates. At the time of scrutiny – the last act before preparation of the list of valid candidates – he suddenly declared that Swain’s party ticket was not original as required under the law though he had received the document in original and kept the same in his custody. Refusing to pay any heed to Swain, the RO had rejected his nomination, thereby debarring him from contesting the elections. And, the EC had refused to intervene as there was no scope to intervene.

The High Court had found the conduct of the RO erroneous and the Supreme Court also agreed with this as it rejected the appeal against the HC order.

But all these legal exercises were not necessary if the RO had not acted mischievously and arbitrarily and the EC not failed to undo the wrong order of the RO.

Therefore, we had suggested that EC should create an authority to instantly intervene in case of arbitrary rejection of nomination papers by the RO. Unless such an authority is created, an enemy nation, by gaining over a RO, can derail Indian democracy by debarring a possible Prime Minister from contesting. But the EC is failing in this regard. It should immediately create a layer over the RO to intervene and settle cases like that of Swain so as to avoid such electoral dislocations in future.

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of India has finally restored derailed democracy to its track at Athgarh by approving what the Orissa high Court had decided. But the fact that pinches is that the legal process of hearing and deciding the case has taken so much time that the people’s right to be represented through the candidate of their choice is going to be materialized only in March 2012, after long three years of the election. The delay could have been avoided to the maximum extent if both the Courts had exclusive benches to dispose of election cases, as nothing in a democracy is more clamant than settlement of election issues.

The Supreme Court has been pleased to form green benches to decide exclusively the environmental cases as expeditiously as possible. Similarly, exclusive benches to hear and decide election cases may be created, as, thereby only, finalization of election cases in utmost speed can be ensured, we had suggested. But election benches are yet to be formed.

The Speaker

On receipt of the Supreme Court verdict that approved Orissa High Court’s order declaring the Athgarh election null and void, the Speaker of Orissa Legislative Assembly has terminated Raut’s membership.

But the termination should have been done with retrospective effect.

With the Supreme Court order confirming the order of the High Court, the election of Raut being null and void, it is to be treated that Raut was not a member of the House for a day. Hence, all the salaries and allowances he has received from the Assembly as a member need be recovered from him. The Speaker has not passed any order to this effect. Non-recovery of money paid to him will mean non-nullification of his membership till termination by the Speaker, which would mean non-acceptance of the High Court order as fortified by the Supreme Court that has set the election null and void, which, in other words would also mean nullification of the orders of the Courts by the Speaker till termination of Raut’s membership. It would be totally illegal and the Speaker should not refuse to look at this point. But, it seems, the Speaker has failed to look at this.

In interest of democracy, these issues need urgent cogitation.