Naveen removed 21 ministers in 10 years: Congress

Accused of shielding two ministers allegedly invloved in the multi-crore rupees coal scam, Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik has a record of either sacking or seeking resignation of at least 21 ministers during his decade-long regime.

Last Updated: Jul 23, 2010, 23:56 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: Accused of shielding two
ministers allegedly invloved in the multi-crore rupees coal scam, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has a record of either sacking or seeking resignation of at least 21 ministers
during his decade-long regime.

This was pointed out by the opposition Congress MLAs
on dharna near Mahatma Gandhi statue in the state assembly premises and boycotting house proceedings since July 17.

"We do not understand why the chief minister is protecting the two when he has removed 21 ministers during his
10 years in office," Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan
said.

However, in 2010 after he returned to power for the
third consecutive time, Patnaik preferred to protect the two
ministers even as opposition gave evidence agaist them.

"This act of Patnaik shows his changed face," he said.

Describing Patnaik as `highly image conscious`,
Harichandan said the Congress doubts the chief minister`s act
of shielding the two ministers.

The Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh echoed him
while claiming that there were evidences against the two
ministers.

Patnaik dropped three senior ministers - Nalini Kanta Mohanty, Kamal Das and Prashant Nanda on July 9, 2001 without
any provocation, Harichandan said adding action was taken
without any allegation against the three.

Patnaik had in a statement on August 9 that year in the
assembly clarified that he was forced to remove the three
ministers to pave the way for proper investigation against
them by the vigilance, he said.

Rabi Narayan Nanda, who was minister of state for water
resources, was dropped on April 5, 2006, after being accused
of offering illegal gratification to two Congress MLAs in a
liquor tragedy case.

"The chief minister recommeded a Lok Pal probe against
Nanda even without any demand by the opposition," Harichandan
said adding that Patnaik also sought resignation of BJP
minister Manmohan Samal in December 2008 in the face of an
allegation of showing favour to a woman.

Patnaik had also asked the then steel and mines minister
Padmanabha Behera to resign in the backdrop of an
ethno-communal riot in Kandhamal.

Other ministers who resigned from Patnaik`s council of
ministers were Amar Satpathy, Debi Prasad Mishra, Duryodhan
Majhi, Pradip Naik, Damodar Rout, Bijayshree Routray,
Balabhadra Majhi, Kalandi Behera, Pramila Mallick, Ramakrushna
Patnaik, Bishnu Charan Das, Debasis Nayak, Nagendra Pradhan,
A P Singh and Samir Dey.

Apart from 21 ministers, six BJP ministers also had
resigned from Naveen`s cabinet after the BJD-BJP allaince
broke up ahead of the 2009 simultanceous Lok Sabha and
assembly polls.

PTI