Mahesh Sahoo is four time MLA and currently is the BJD MP from Dhenkanal. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2019. The Interview Times had a special conversation with him through some questions, below are the answers he responded to the questions of The Interview Times –
Q1- Could you please elaborate about your political journey, from being a four-time MLA to becoming the MP of Dhenkanal? How was the journey?
Answer – From 1980, I was active in student politics. After that, I contested election in 1990 and became a councillor of Talcher Municipality. I kept on working for the social welfare of the people and due to my determination and selfless public work, I became people’s favourite. As I got noticed by people, several political parties took note of it. I contested for Assembly elections and people elected as their representative. But the road was not that easy for me, as I also faced defeat in the 2009 Assembly election. My defeat did not deter me nor my will to work for the welfare of the people. I continued to work for people and carried out my public relationship campaigns. Hon. Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik made me chairman of the Odisha State Warehousing Corporation (OSWC). I had a successful tenure as the OSWC chairman and my works garnered praise from the Odisha government. In 2014, Hon. Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik gave me a chance to contest from Pallahara Assembly Constituency and, within a period of one year, I was made the Chairman of the District Planning Committee. During 2014-2019, regardless of the point that I was the incumbent MLA of Pallahara Constituency, Hon. Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik gave me a chance to contest for Lok Sabha Elections. With the love of people from seven Assembly constituencies of Dhenkanal and Angul, under the able guidance and leadership of Hon. Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik and the blessings of the people of my Lok Sabha Constituency, I got a chance to become a Member of Parliament in Lok Sabha.
Q2- What activities you prefer in the morning time?
Answer – Usually, after visiting my constituency areas and meeting with different people, when I come to home around 9.00-9.30 am, I watch the news. Thereafter, from 9.30-10.00 am, I read the newspaper. From 10.00 am to the next one-two hours, I have a weekly newspaper ‘Ageiba.’ I write something for the that. My newspaper ‘Ageiba’ is published since 1981.
Q3- What are the developmental projects in which you have achieved the most success?
Answer – The big thing is that since 2019, though many public representatives have done a lot of work, but I have achieved the most success in the projects that have been carried out under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana since 2019. We have worked to make people able to communicate in inaccessible pockets where earlier common people couldn’t go.
Q4- What are the arrangements made by you for grievance redressal in your Lok Sabha Constituency?
Answer – I have established grievance cells in Angul and Dhenkanal Districts, and every Saturday and Sunday, I visit one grievance cell to meet people and hear their grievances from 6-9 AM. I make visits to both districts in rotation to address the people’s concerns. Furthermore, I have also set up grievance cells in all 13 blocks of the 7 Assembly constituencies. There are six Municipalities, NACs present in my constituency, which are tagged with blocks. I have also established grievance cells there.
Q5- Can you please tell about some of the major developmental works undertaken by you as an MP ?
Answer – After getting elected as an MP, while visiting different villages, panchayats people gives me various applications. Based on the applications and taking public opinion in the first phase, few MPLADS came in 2019 and then due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was suspended for two years, still whatever applications gave by people for collective development, I have given importance to the Education sector, and where there is zero connectivity, inaccessible pockets, to that place I tried how at least people can avail Ambulance services. Although there is road from Panchayat to Block headquarters, there’s little connectivity from the wards to the Block. I have given importance to that and have raised the issue of better connectivity with Panchayat and Zilla Parishad-level officials. I have continued to prioritise people’s genuine issues and solve them to the best of my abilities. The big thing is that from Angul District Mineral Fund as our affected area, I have brought some funds and in Dhenkanal District, the importance has been given to educational institutions and have thought that at least by December 2023, all the educational institutions from primary level to college, which don’t have boundary shall be completed.
Q6- Anything in particular that you would want to tell your constituents?
Answer – See, you are taking my interview because of the people of my Constituency. If they had not been shown me their love and respect and elected me to the parliament, would you have come to me? So all the credits goes to the people of my Dhenkanal Lok Sabha Constituency and their love and blessings and in democracy they hold the role of rightful judges and have given me this opportunity
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