Niranjan Patnaik, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President
Niranjan Patnaik has been the doyen of Odisha politics. Very few politicians in the state can stand up to his stature, political longevity and the impact on the people’s mindscape. Age has not paused this old warhorse of Congress. Nor has changing circumstances and hues in politicking and posturing wavered him from his ideals and leanings.
Even today despite the Modi tsunami and Naveen juggernaut, Patnaik continues to hold his own and is a massive rabble rouser. He has been at the forefront of opposition against unjust policies of either the Modi government at the Centre or the incumbent Naveen led BJD regime in Odisha. Making no bones of his displeasure in a recent tweet, Patnaik exhorted Prime Minister Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath not to test the courage and determination of Odisha’s farmers. “Stopping farmers & terrorising them with police action is not just cowardly, but foolish! The only option left for you us to take back the ‘black laws’, he tweeted.
Recently, as part of the nationwide demonstration demanding the repeal of three farm laws, the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) on Friday gheraoed the Raj Bhavan here to show solidarity with the protesting farmers. A delegation led by OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik submitted a memorandum to Governor Ganeshi Lal requesting his intervention and necessary steps for withdrawal of the Farm Acts. Alleging that the Narendra Modi government appears to have adopted a policy of tiring out the agitating farmers without agreeing to any of their demands including repealing of the Acts, the memorandum said several rounds of talks have so far yielded nothing.
The memorandum alleged that the government is profiteering from the misery of farmers and the common people by raising the price of diesel and petrol to an all time high.
Patnaik also visited Kanpur Irrigation project near Joda under the Champua Assembly constituency of Keonjhar and held a meeting with the project-affected people. It is alleged that land oustees were threatened by the district administation to part with their ancestral home land.
On his way from Keonjhar to the project site, Patnaik was accorded warm welcome at Basudevpur from where thousands of people led him to the affected area. In his address to the affected people, the PCC chief said the present Governments stand for 3Ps – (Prachar, Pratisruti,Pratarana) and work only for rich people and corporate houses like Adani and Ambani. He lamented that youths were roaming jobless and farmers were agitating on the street.
Due to the wrong policy of the both the Central and State Governments, the Kanpur Irrigation project which had been started by the Congress Government is now incomplete, told Patnaik, adding that he was with the common people in their struggle against the injustice. He further told that he would meet the Collector, Keonjhar to discuss the problem of the people.
He further told that the Government was collecting highest revenue from Keonjhar and its people couldn’t be allowed to live in miserable condition. He assured to urge upon the Collector to spend from the DMF fund if there was scarcity of funds to take forward the project work. Later, he proceeded to Joda to see how people were living in a very miserable condition due to want of doctors and other paramedical staff and equipment in the Central Hospital, Joda. He briefed the mediapersons that the health conditions in the mining rich area is in a very miserable conditions and appealed to local youths to fight against the apathetic attitude of the Government.
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