April 07, 2020
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'We've To Work Harder Now'

Orissa's triumphant chief minister Naveen Patnaik, voted back to power for a second consecutive term, spoke to Outlook. Excerpts:

'We've To Work Harder Now'
You seem to have escaped anti-incumbency...
We have tried very hard to work for the people of Orissa and they have reposed confidence in us by voting us back into power. We have provided good, transparent and efficient government, law and order and launched anti-corruption drives at every level. We also initiated pro-poor programmes and welfare schemes.

Your father's name still continues to be a big draw in Orissa. Aren't people still voting for Biju Patnaik rather than you?
My father's legacy will always be there, because of all that he did for the people of Orissa. He will always enjoy immense popularity in the state. I am just trying to follow in his footsteps and fulfil his dream of making Orissa a prosperous state.

Now that the NDA is no longer in power at the Centre, will your veer towards the Congress?
Not at all. We are committed to continuing our alliance with the bjp in the state. At the national level too, the BJD is very much a part of the NDA.

It is said that you're a very inaccessible CM and that you're overly dependent on a few bureaucrats.
That is totally untrue. I don't think there is any CM who is as accessible as I am. And the idea that I am dependent on the bureaucracy is a fallacy. It's said of anyone who joins politics.

After seven years in politics you still don't know Oriya.
Yes, communicating with one's people in one's own language is very important. I know it must be learnt.

What will your government's mandate be in the new term?
We will continue the pro-poor initiatives launched in the past four years. We will continue to provide clean and transparent government. There will be more emphasis on employment. Helping agricultural growth through irrigation facilities, minimum support pricing is also our priority. We will have to work much harder now to ensure a better future.
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