Biju Patnaik’s legacy continues to dominate Orissa campaigns

March 28th, 2009 - 8:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bhubaneswar, March 28 (IANS) Former chief minister Biju Patnaik continues to dominate the election campaign in Orissa even 12 years after his death with two groups of politicians claiming to be true inheritors of his legacy.
Like in the general elections of 2000 and 2004, party manifesto, posters and other campaign materials that the BJD has released in the recent few days have images of Biju Patnaik.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who hopes to retain power for third term, released the manifesto Friday and said realisation of his father’s dream will be the guiding spirit of the BJD.

The mention of Patnaik senior’s name in speeches by most of the BJD leaders, including the chief minister, indicates that the party is banking on his legacy to sail through the polls.

On the other hand, Dilip Ray and Bijoy Mohapatra, who joined Bharatiya Janata Party last week, claim that they are the real inheritors of the legacy because Biju Patnaik never wanted to see any of his family members in politics when he was alive.

Once known for their intimacy with Biju Patnaik, Mohapatra and Ray were among the founding members of the BJD. They were also instrumental in bringing Naveen Patnaik into politics after the death of his father.

Ray, who was the union minister in Atal Behari Vajpayee’s cabinet, was, however, dropped at Naveen Patnaik’s behest. He sacked both Mohapatra and Ray from the party later.

Mohapatra was considered as ’super chief minister’ when Biju Patnaik ruled from 1990 to 1995. After a few years of good relationship, Naveen Patnaik denied Mohapatra ticket in 2000 elections.

Both Ray and Mohapatra say they will tell people how Naveen Patnaik is not the real inheritor of Biju’s legacy. “We had formed the BJD to build the Orissa of Biju Babu’s dreams, which his son failed to do,” Ray told IANS.

The state will go to polls in two phases April 16 and 23 to elect 147 members to the state assembly and 21 members to the Lok Sabha.

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