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Odisha CM 'fails to build' second line of leadership; gap rampant in other parties, too

By Sudhansu R Das* 

The septuagenarian Chief Minister, Naveen Pattnaik, has ruled Odisha for more than two and half decade. Though, he has built good roads, bridges and schools in the state, he has not groomed a strong Odia leader in the state who is capable of safeguarding the vast mineral resources, build Odisha specific infrastructures, protect the rich Odia culture, create employment, prevent massive migration of the native Odias to other states. 
Today, the skilled and unskilled labor gap created in the state is filled by the migrants from outside states. Similarly, the gap created in the field of small business and in the unorganized sectors due to the migration has been filled up by the migrants from other states; as those neighboring states have failed to create income generating activities for their people. 
Freebies have created massive idle energy in the state which has deteriorated the work culture. Acute labor shortage for agriculture activities in the state has compelled the state to depend on other states for food crops. The state needs to escape from the crisis to safety.
Odisha needs a strong Odia leader who can create the right environment for people to generate an average monthly income of Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000. If it happens the Odia laborers will happily live in Odisha instead of toiling hard in other states for a meager Rs 10,000 average income per month.
There is an urgent need of a strong native Odia leader in the state who can prevent the flow of infrastructure projects to contractors of the outside states; the state should develop the capacity of the native Odia contractors who can build mega infrastructure projects. 
Contractors and miners from the southern states take advantage of this situation and shift their operation to Odisha because Odisha has not created scopes for the native miners and the contractors. As a result, there is a flight of profit to the southern states at a huge scale. There is a need for a capable Odia leader who can protect the state's economic interest.
The state desperately needs a leader who can save the rich handicraft and weaving traditions with its original grace and artistry; over decades much of the handicraft and handloom skill has disappeared from the state which results in the erosion of value. 
 An Odia leader should emerge who can understand the value of handicraft and handloom products and the immense economic potential of forest, agriculture and the unorganised sectors in the states. The farmers need water throughout the year; they need banks to deliver credit to deserving farmers; they need a transparent market to earn more profit.
Destruction of forest has depleted the flora and fauna. After losing their forest home the elephants stray into the villages for food and get killed in large numbers. There has been a reported incident of elephant death in the local newspaper every two days. Ancient temples have lost their archeological importance due to mindless construction and repairing activities around it; this has adversely affected the pilgrim sector. 
Puri was one of the most beautiful beaches in the world; today the beach has lost its natural beauty due to construction activities and over population. Odisha needs an intellectually and physically strong leader who can dive deep into the Odia history, culture, economy and social life to restore the confidence among the Odia youth.
The national party BJP which vociferously talks about history, culture, economy and society has failed to promote a strong leader in Odisha
The national party BJP which vociferously talks about history, culture, economy and society has failed to promote a strong leader in Odisha who is capable of leading the state. Former IAS officer and BJP’s lone MP from Bhubaneswar, Aparajita Sadangi, though raises her voice, organizes protests and makes strong political moves, she has been cornered by some Odia BJP leaders who come to the state like tourists to deliver their speeches only. 
They live in Delhi with families most of the time and come to Odisha during elections hoping the climate will change for them. They have failed to bring fast trains to Odisha which can connect the main cities of Odisha with Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune and Bangalore within a short time. In the 90s, Konark express took 32 hours to reach Mumbai. Today it takes 36 to 40 hours to reach Mumbai. The development clock is ticking in reverse direction for Odisha.
The BJP in the state is divided into factions due to lack of strong leadership; each faction is working against each other and boosts the prospect of the BJD. The RSS leader, late Shri Asit Basu, a Physics lecturer, popularly known as Gaur Da was able to hold BJP together. He was killed in a road accident while moving on a bike in a remote Nandankanan-Cuttack road ten years back. An errant truck rolled over him in broad daylight. After his death, no leader in the state was capable enough to lead the party.
The Congress is nowhere in the scene as the party has no strong credible leader who can fill the leadership vacuum in the state. When the leaders of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Telangana always converge on a common objective of safeguarding their state’s economic interest at any cost, the leaders in Odisha fight among one another and jeopardise the state’s economic interest. 
It is high time for all the political parties in Odisha to have a single voice on “how to protect the state’s economic interest.” This is a “do or die situation” for the educated Odia leaders, the intellectual class and the youth of the state.

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