Bhubaneswar: Here is a list of top five personalities from Odisha who have grabbed a substantial amount of the media space for their doings and undoing’s in the year 2019 and can be thus termed Newsmakers.
1. Dutee Chand, the ace sprinter, and the national champion apart from her professional success of bagging a gold in the 100m race at the World University Games at Naples in July by clocking 11.32 seconds making her the first-ever Indian woman track and field athlete to do so was in the news and had courted controversy after expressing in May that she was in a same-sex relationship.
Dutee graced the hot seat in a special episode of Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC) 11 hosted by legendary Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan along with athletes Hima Das and Virender Sehwag. During the show, Dutee shared an extremely emotional story of her younger days which had left all three of Big B, Sehwag, and Hima, along with the crowd emotional. She got a standing ovation from the crowd.
India’s first openly lesbian athlete Dutee has been awarded the ‘Sportsperson Of The Year’ in the third edition of ‘Vogue Women Of The Year 2019’ awards.
2. V. Karthikeyan Pandian, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s Private Secretary and 5T Initiatives Secretary, the longest-serving Private Secretary of Odisha’s longest-serving Chief Minister is considered the second most powerful person in the State.
This 2000-batch IAS officer is said to be the master strategist who designed the 2019 election campaign of the BJD, projecting the development programmes with precision. He is considered the man behind the scripting of Naveen’s return to power in 2019.
After the electoral victory of his party in 2019, Patnaik who had started the 3T initiative in May 2017 to ensure better service delivery to the public, added ‘Time’ and Transformation to the list making it 5T and appointed who else but his trusted lieutenant Pandian as the 5T Secretary.
Hitherto known as the backroom boy, the 5T Secretary is said to be the architect or the man behind the launch of the ‘Mo Sarkar'(my government), the first-of-its-kind initiative in the country to make the State administration people friendly and delivery of public services more efficient, under the Chief Minister’s ambitious 5T (teamwork, technology, transparency, transformation and timeline) drive which was launched on October 2 this year.
His surprise visits to government hospitals, schools and colleges, Lingaraj Temple to gather feedback from the users, taking spartan meals at Aahar Centres et al have made this man a trailblazer of sorts and the talk of the town.
3. Dr. Damodar Rout, a Biju loyalist, a former minister, a seven-time MLA and considered a veteran politician of Odisha who was expelled from the BJD for alleged anti-party activities last year, putting to rest all speculations joined the Bharatiya Janata Party at BJP headquarters in Delhi in March this year. Rout had launched a campaign against the ruling BJD prior to his joining the BJP.
However, Rout after unsuccessfully contesting the Assembly election from Balikuda-Erasama tendered his resignation from the saffron party in last October. After tendering his resignation from the BJP, Rout announced that he won’t continue in active politics.
4. Baijayant Panda, popularly known as Jay Panda, the once upon a time blue-eyed boy of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, a two-time MP from Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat who resigned from the BJD after his suspension from the party last year for anti-party activities joined the BJP this year after waging a full-throated campaign against the ruling BJD government, especially on social media.
Jay, the industrialist turned politician was made the BJP’s national vice-president soon after he joined the saffron party and was later fielded as the party’s candidate from Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat, the BJD fielded Ollywood actor Anubhav Mohanty against him.
It turned out to be a David vs. Goliath battle and Panda met his nemesis in Ollywood actor Anubhav Mohanty of the BJD who defeated him with a huge margin.
His defeat on his home turf Kendrapara, despite a no-holds-barred campaign by star campaigners of the saffron party at the hands of the Ollywood actor, earned him the epithet-‘twitter tiger’.
5. Pratap Chandra Sarangi an unlikely politician, a bachelor, who lead a spartan life was elected from the Balasore Lok Sabha seat on a BJP ticket by defeating two high-profile candidates in Balasore – outgoing BJD MP and industrialist Rabindra Jena, as well as Nabajyoti Patnaik, son of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Nirajan Patnaik.
Both were also among the state’s richest MP candidates. What surprised many was the inclusion of this first-time in the central council of ministers by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Political analysts feel Sarangi’s inclusion in the central council of ministers was aided by his RSS background.
This 64-year-old MP who is a Brahmin is fondly called ‘Nana’ and revered like an older brother. He was the state president of Bajrang Dal and calls himself a footsoldier of Modi, he attributes his victory to his commitment, integrity, and simplicity.
Always seen in a pair of white cotton kurta-pyjamas, Sarangi drew the attention of the social media and the mainstream media for his campaigning style which was markedly different. While his contestants had a fleet of SUVs to traverse the constituency and hired professional campaign managers and election management agencies, Sarangi conducted auto-rickshaw rallies and pedalled his way on a bicycle. Sarangi got thumping applause for taking oath as a member of the 17th Lok Sabha in Sanskrit. He is now Minister of State (MoS) for MSME and Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries.