As an Odia citizen, it is appalling to witness development stall in the State while our neighbouring states have become successful economic turnaround stories. We have settled for being called one of the least developed States for years and it appears that our elected government would like to keep it this way. Odisha politics has stooped to new low and appears to have actively victimised a leader with a development mandate. Today, the news flashed with clips of Mr. Jay Panda who has been an MP for 17 years, being struck by an egg and attacked by the local MLA’s goons for inaugurating a water tank in his constituency which was made through his MPLAD funds which are given by the Parliament for this express purpose.
From his twitter feed, it appears that Mr. Panda was aware of this goonism and despite this threat, he had announced that he would not stand down. Once he reached the site of the water tank, Mr.Panda was attacked with stones, slippers and eggs which are alleged to have been orchestrated by the Local MLA as “he was not invited” to the inauguration.
Nonetheless, Mr. Panda inaugurated the water tank and proudly posted on social media that eggs or bullets couldn’t have deterred him from his commitment to his people.
This incident is just not the crucification of a good leader but an attack on good politics and the development mandate. The rift between the local BJD government and their own MP started on account of Mr. Panda’s candid proclamation that there was a need for introspection within the party.
Any government that has been in power for more than four consecutive terms tends to become complacent and there is absolutely nothing wrong in calling a spade a spade. As a voter, I believe that I should be given an option between people who are able and willing to serve our State for the greater good. We should not have a Government which punishes candor and honesty by removing Mr. Panda as the spokesperson of the Party. Is sweeping a strong man’s voice under the carpet the way we want to function in a democracy?
Knowing for years that the long serving CM Naveen Patnaik has been unwell and has been travelling for his treatment, it is of concern to understand who our next leader would be. It appears as if the spineless BJD government is spooked by the growing popularity of the infallible image of Mr.Panda among the masses. This issue of goonism and filthy politics is not limited to my State of Odisha but has spread like gangrene across the whole country.
Our political representatives should concentrate more on the development of their constituencies rather than focus on political posturing. It is incumbent upon us as citizens to shift the narrative towards development and prosperity.We must reward leaders like Mr. Panda for their honesty rather than unjustly punish them like in the present situation. It is our duty to ensure that these goons can’t hold our country’s development hostage to their personal agendas.