High time country gets out of election mode: Patnaik at Niti Aayog meeting

·4-min read

(Eds: Adding BJP, Cong reax) Bhubaneswar, Feb 20 (PTI) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Saturday hit out at politicisation of every action of an elected government and all crimes, saying it is high time that the country gets out of election mode and allows elected governments to function.

The chief minister said this while virtually attending Niti Aayog's Governing Council meeting.

'Every crime is being politicised, every action of an elected government is being viewed from a political angle.

This kind of an atmosphere is one of the biggest threats to the pace of development and peace in the country.

'It is high time the country gets out of this election mode and allows elected governments to function,' Patnaik said.

Opposition parties BJP and the Congress reacted sharply to Patnaik's views and said, he needs to look himself in the mirror to find out whether he himself had commited such acts.

Noting that the hallmark of a mature democracy is that once elected, governments are meant to work for people beyond the party line, the chief minister said, 'It is time we as a country have serious introspection on whether we are able to do the same'.

Unified response and inclusive approach should be adopted for all major challenges facing the country in the true spirit of cooperative federalism, the Odisha CM said.

'COVID-19 was a challenge for the world and India showed with its unified response what is possible. European countries and the United States could not put up a unified front.

'History will remember us on what our response has been on critical issues affecting our people and the country, raising above political considerations,' he said.

Raising the issue of empowerment of women, Patnaik said, national parties had promised women's reservation in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

'History will not forgive us if we renege on this commitment. This calls for a serious deliberation and taking it forward,' he said.

If the country has to really move forward, regions which are neglected and populations that are vulnerable have to be taken along, Patnaik said.

'Committed action is needed for that. The NITI Aayog has a major role to play in this. Areas like malnutrition, connectivity, sex ratio imbalances need focus,' the chief minister said.

Pointing out that lakhs of our young people appear for national level exams every year the UPSC exam, NEET, JEE etc, he said, a critical look is required to re-evaluate the examination pattern for these prestigious and highly sought-after exams.

'Should not we have exams that focus on equality and attracting merit as opposed to exam patterns that are heavily dependent on highly paid coaching classes? 'This will truly eliminate merit in the long run and deny justice to lakhs of our children who live in rural areas and do not have physical or economic access to coaching classes. NITI Aayog should look into this very serious issue,' the chief minister said.

Suggesting that NITI Aayog should develop into a repository of innovations drawn from the country and across the world and help replicate it, Patnaik said, futuristic technologies, new world economy, solutions for climate change, inclusive governance models are some areas that can be focused on.

The Odisha Chief Minister also pointed out that many critical issues are being raised in the NITI Aayog deliberations and excellent suggestions are being made.

'It would be appropriate for NITI Aayog to share an action taken report with everyone concerned. This will make our deliberations more meaningful and action-oriented,' he said.

Mentioning that a number of proposals of different states relating to inclusion of tribal communities in the ST list have been pending from 1978 onwards, Patnaik said, many of them are subsets on phonetic variations of the names of existing ST communities.

'It is unjust to keep these pending for years without a decision,' the chief minister said.

Patnaik also spoke on the 'just demands' of the coastal state relating to railways, telecom, banking, reduction in central fund, inclusion of some of the important languages of Odisha in the Eighth schedule of the Constitution.

BJP stalwart and Leader of Opposition P K Naik said, 'No political party has the agenda to politicise all crimes.

If there is no action against people involved in heinous crimes and the government shields the culprits, will opposition parties remain silent? 'If opposition parties raise voice against non-action in crimes and this is dubbed as politicising crime, then I am sorry. It is unfortunate that a person holding such a responsible post makes this kind of statement at the NITI Aayog meeting.' Asking the state government to make self introspection whether it spends money from public exchequer for the political gain of the ruling BJD, Naik said, 'Let him (Patnaik) look in the mirror to find whether he made such mistakes'.

Dubbing the chief minister's statement as an 'eyewash', Congress Legislature Party leader Narasingha said, 'He (Patnaik) remained silent all along after the Modi government was elected to power in 2014. Thanks that he opened up now'.

PTI AAM MM MM