Ridiculous To Say I'm Not In Charge: Naveen Patnaik

Bhubaneswar:  Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, in an interview to NDTV, has rubbished allegations that he was not fully at the helm of affairs of his state. "I think the suggestion is ridiculous", he said, adding, "I am in charge as I always was".

Mr Patnaik, normally reclusive, agreed to a rare TV interview on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of his party, the Biju Janata Dal or BJD. Under his watch, the BJD has won four successive terms in Odisha, but the BJP's improved performance in recent rural body elections has led to questions over that hegemony.

In a series of monosyllabic answers, Mr Patnaik, speaking from his residence in Bhubhaneshwar, sought to rebut that perception.

"I don't think it (the BJP 'wave') is going to have any effect in Odisha", he said.

Mr Patnaik's own colleague, the Lok Sabha MP Baijayant "Jay" Panda had written an article shortly after the rural body polls, criticising the BJD leadership, saying it was being run by "opportunists", and asking for the party to introspect.

"I think that's completely incorrect. It's quite baseless in fact", Mr Patnaik said, when asked about Mr Panda's assertions.

He also denied any possibility that the BJP was trying to wean away Mr Panda. "No, no, no. There's no fear of that", he said, adding "There are no divisions in the party."

He ruled out any alliance ahead of national and state elections. Odisha goes to the polls in 2019. "We remain equidistant from the BJP and the Congress", he said.

When asked to rate Prime Minister Modi, he said "As a PM people voted him in, full of promise. Let us see. There's still time to see what happens." -NDTV

Rahul Gandhi appoints Niranjan Patnaik as new OPCC chief

Bhubaneswar: Political speculations regarding new future of Odisha Congress ended as AICC President Rahul Gandhi today appointed Niranjan Patnaik as t...

Teachers Postpone Strike After Govt Assurance

Bhubaneswar: Teachers under the banner 'All Odisha School-College Teachers and Employees United Forum', today postponed their agitation and served a t...

Senior Odisha Congress leaders meet Rahul Gandhi

Bhubaneswar: Senior Congress leaders from Odisha, including Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Prasad Harichandan, Niranjan Patnaik, N...

School, college teachers call off strike

Bhubaneswar: The agitating school and college teachers and employees today postponed their agitation to June 30 after a meeting with Chief Secretary A...