Bhubaneswar: To be or not to be was the question, but the fact remains that one has to be true to oneself and this is the universal truth- as clear as day and night.
In 2014, after a long gap, I decided to make a comeback to electoral politics and contest the Rourkela Assembly Constituency seat. Rourkela has always remained close to my heart and even though away from electoral politics, it has always been my esteemed priority to give my best attention to the Steel City. In this election, which I considered to be a ”Moment of Truth" for me, People of Rourkela blessed me with a resounding victory even when the rest of State and even the district voted otherwise.
Riding on the Charismatic presence of Sri Narendra Modi and the progressive change the BJP had promised, I had envisioned a whole lot of development works for the city and had promised to fulfil the long ignored dreams and aspirations of the people who had reposed their faith in me. I did put up the best of my efforts to the best of my ability and left no stone unturned on my part to materialize the dreams and aspirations of my constituents but at this stage, I acknowledge my failure in living up to their expectations and therefore, taking up the moral responsibility, I have decided to quit as the Member of State Legislative Assembly as well as from the Membership of Bharatiya Janata Party (BP).
Among others, Brahmani Bridge and the up gradation of IGH to a Medical College cum Super Speciality Hospital were the two most burning issues concerning the region. These were also the two emotive issue based on which I had contested the 2014 elections. It is in the public domain that post my election, these two issues have been the most pressing priorities for me. From calling on Prime Minister, Union Minister, Union Steel Minister and SAIL Chairman several times to impress upon them the need of expeditious construction of both these projects to writing numerous letters and repeatedly raising these issues in the State Assembly as well as on other public forums, I did everything which I could have done in my official as well as personal capacity. However, the relentless efforts and the intense follow-ups on my part have not been able to produce the desired results.
As far as the issue of up gradation of IGH to a Super Speciality Hospital & Medical College (SSHMC) is concerned, apart from undertaking the modernisation of some departments, nothing worthwhile has happened. At a point of time, there was also a talk that Rs 200 Crores was sanctioned for the upgradation of IGH and that the work would commence soon. The Central Ministers visiting Rourkela also spoke on similar lines. However, that remained confined to a mere declaration only and the project is yet to see the light of the day. As if the inordinate delays being witnessed in the execution of this badly-needed project were alone not enough, what added insult to injury and made people feel dejected and disillusioned was the repeated misinformation and hoopla surrounding the project.
Regarding Second Brahmani Bridge, after our repeated requests, Union Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari ji laid the foundation stone for the Bridge on 21st July, 2017 and also made a statement that the work would commence within 15 days. Had it indeed commenced within 15 days, a better part of the project would have been executed till now but to great disappointment, this project too is yet to witness any significant development. Though, there have been several ill-informed claims that the construction work of the Bridge is underway but a simple assessment of the ground conditions by anyone will bring to fore the reality.
However, being the public representative of the region, more than anything else, I consider it as rny personal failure and inability to deliver on commitments and hold myself solely responsible for it. These were the two issues on which I fought the 2014 elections and having failed in delivering on them, I have no moral authority to go to the people and seek a re-election and neither will my conscience permit that. Therefore, it is with deep anguish that I have also decided not to contest the upcoming assembly elections in 2019 from RourkeIa.
To see my constituents going through such hardships due to the non-execution of these projects pains me immensely. Under the visionary leadership of Hon'ble Prime Minister Modiji, the current central regime has an impeccable track record of ensuring execution of several development works as well as many long-pending projects in record time. People of Rourkela too were certain that both, Second Brahmani Bridge as well as a IGH Super-Speciality Hospital cum Medical College will be a reality before 2019 and but unfortunately, nothing such has happened. The people here fail to appreciate the fact that the commitments made by a dynamic Prime Minister, who has earned the reputation of being an icon of development for his idea of inclusive and people-oriented governance, are yet to see the light of the day. "Incessant annoying inordinate delays" has marred the construction of both the projects and it has, in particularly, led to generation of two strong perceptions amongst the masses:
1. That the delay has to do with a tug-of-war within the BJP and that someone very powerful is deliberately creating impediments in the execution of these projects, just to ensure that I don't walk away with the credit of these projects. Due to it, there is also a perception that till I remain the M., these demands would not be fulfilled.
2. There is also a perception among. the BJP workers and the people of the district that a certain section within the party itself doesn't wants Sundargarh to become a BJP bastion and their efforts have been oriented towards ensuring that BJP doesn't fare as well as it did in 2014 elections in Sundargarh district. It is pertinent to mention here that out of the seven Assembly seats of Sundargarh district, I alone had been elected to the Assembly on BJP ticket from Rourkela and Jual Orarn had won the Lok Sabha seat, the only seat won by BJP, in Odisha.
Whether these perceptions are right or wrong is for the time to decide but for me, being an obstacle to the realization of the long standing demand of the people of Rourkela is the last thing in my life I can think of. Rourkela has showered me with enough of love, affection and support and for me no position can be bigger than their dreams and aspirations. Any political position that comes at the cost of development of Rourkela can be of little value to me and I am willing to sacrifice it happily and unhesitatingly. If my resignation serves as a catalyst for the expeditious execution of these projects, no one would be a more contented person than
As an MLA, I enjoyed the unstinted love and support of the people and I express my gratitude to one and all. The relation which I share with people of Rourkela transcend any political position or party and even after quitting as MIA, I will continue my struggle for the fulfilment of these two demands in whatsoever possible ways I can and will always be available for any cooperation sought from me on these issues.
In my tenure of around 4.5 years I have been instrumental in successful execution of many projects such as declaration of Rourkela as Smart City, establishment of a Regional Passport Office, a commercially viable airport, Modernisation of Rourkela Railway Station along with other development works. Sundargarh MP Shri Jual Oram ji played a significant role in the realization of above mentioned projects. This apart, I have also raised other issues concerning my constituency in particular and district in general, over and over again in the State Assembly as well as on other platforms and tried my best to get them redressed and work towards their fulfilment.
However, the fact that I have failed to deliver on the issues on which I contested 2014 elections fills me with shame and this guilt torments me from within. "Maati Aage Party Pare" has been the dictum guiding my political career and my conscience will never allow me to seek a re-election from the people of Rourkela until unless I have an answer to their questions. I, at this stage have nothing to offer but an apology to my people who have always stood by me through thick and thin. The decision to quit is emotionally too painful and difficult for me but I do think that this, at present, is best suited to the interests of Rourkela. I hope my constituents will understand the unavoidable circumstances that rendered it necessary for me to take this difficult decision.