By Amarendra Mohanty
After winning Bijepur by-election by a huge margin, Naveen Babu surprised all when he declared Dr. Achyut Samant and Shri Soumya Ranjan Patnaik along with former minister Shri Prashant Nanda as RS candidates from BJD. While Mr. Nanda is working as the spokesperson of BJD, the other two candidates joined the party in the morning and were rewarded the RS seat in the evening.
Both Mr. Patnaik and Mr. Samanta have ‘M’ power which is essential in today’s politics. They have Money, Man and most importantly Media. Both of them have a pan Odisha appeal with their work in respective fields. While Mr. Patnaik is popularly known as a media baron, Mr. Samanta is known as an eminent educationist and social worker. The founder of KIIT and KISS is very popular among tribal as he runs KISS where more than 25000 tribal children are given free of education. So Mr. Samanta would be a great asset for BJD in the upcoming assembly election.
Mr. Patnaik, a household name who is the founder of Eastern Media limited encompassing Sambad, a 24×7 TV news channel, Kanak News, Radio Choklate and an FM wing. He is the advisor of Naba Nirman Krushak Sangathan (NNKS), an organization fighting for Price, Prestige, and Pension of the farmers in the State. He is one of the frontline leaders of the Bhasha Andolan. The former MP is also a crusader for chit fund victims. His knowledge, intellect, experience, and the network would be hugely beneficial for BJD.
Mr. Nanda is a veteran actor and a former minister who represents Ollywood. Sending him to RS, Naveen sends a clear message to the actors who joined BJP before Bijepur election. Will it stop the influx of other actors joining BJP in future? He has also sent a message that he recognizes the loyalty. Two time MLA, Mr. Nanda was denied a ticket in last assembly election.
Naveen Babu tries to send a strong message that he sends the right mix of people to the upper house across the domain. The skills and networks of the trio can be used extensively by the party in the upcoming assembly election. In case of Soumya Babu, it’s BJD’s gain while a big loss to Congress. BJD’s eye on tribal votes in western Odisha would boost further by the induction of Dr. Samanta. Perhaps people of Odisha still love the hero of ‘Dora’ and ‘Lal Paan Bibi’ who can be a crowd puller along with his other colleagues in the industry.
But the larger question is if (Kanak + Kalinga) TV >= OTV? Perhaps the equation between BJD boss and Kendrapara MP Mr. Baijayant Jay Panda forced to induct other media house owners to the party to mitigate the risk of maximum coverage to the ruling party in the election year. With the induction of a strong opposition leader like Mr. Soumya Ranjan Patnaik who was very critical of the ruling establishment for various issues in past made the opposition weak. Mr. Samanata joining the party will send a message to the rest that BJD is still popular and No. 1 party in Odisha. While both Soumay and Samanta need the power to increase their clout further, BJD wants to win the perception battle and keep the momentum after winning Bijepur by-election.
It’s a win-win for both Patnaik and Samanta. It may be a turning point in Soumya Babu’s political career and will give some additional power to Mr. Samanta.
It’s Naveen Babu’s Master stroke for nominating media baron Shri Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, eminent educationist & social worker Dr. Achyuta Samanta and veteran Actor Prashanta Nanda to #RS.
Amarendra Mohanty, IT Professional, Research Scholar & Social Worker. Twitter- @AmarendraM +91 9791045053