Will form special panel to probe rapid decline in Naveen Patnaik’s health, says PM : The Tribune India

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Will form special panel to probe rapid decline in Naveen Patnaik’s health, says PM

Will form special panel to probe rapid decline in Naveen Patnaik’s health, says PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with other leaders at a poll rally in Balasore district of Odisha on Wednesday. PTI



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, May 29

In a major move in Odisha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday hinted at a possible conspiracy behind “sudden deterioration of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s health” and promised to launch a probe into the matter after the “formation of the BJP government in the state”.

Addressing a poll rally in Mayurbhanj, which goes to the polls in the last phase on June 1, the PM said after June 10, the BJP government in Odisha would form a special committee to investigate why Patnaik’s health was rapidly deteriorating and what was happening to him.

“All well-wishers of Naveen Babu are concerned. They are worried over this sudden deterioration in his health over the past year. When they meet me, Naveen Babu’s aides mention his health. They say Naveen Babu is now unable to do anything on his own. Long time confidantes of Naveen Babu believe there could be a possible conspiracy behind the rapid deterioration of Naveen Patnaik’s health,” the PM said.

He said the question was whether there was a conspiracy behind Patnaik’s ill health.

“People of Odisha have the right to know this. I wonder whether behind all this there is a lobby enjoying the fruits of power from behind the curtains. It is important to lift the veil off this conspiracy and for that a probe is essential. When the BJP wins the Odisha polls, our government will form a special committee to investigate why Patnaik’s health is deteriorating and what is happening to his health,” the PM said.

Yesterday, top BJP leaders had shared a video featuring a frail Patnaik, with his left hand trembling.

The video captured Patnaik’s confidante and BJP leader VK Pandian, former bureaucrat turned politician, pushing his boss’ hand behind the lectern on stage.

Patnaik had to issue a video statement to say all was well with him and the BJP should stop discussing his hands.

Today, the PM sought to change the narrative by hinting at a probable conspiracy behind Patnaik’s ill health and promising the people of Odisha a probe to determine that.

Patnaik, 77, is the second longest serving CM in the country’s history and if re-elected, would surpass former Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling’s record. The latter was in power for 24 years and 167 days — from December 12, 1994, to May 27, 2019.

In 2023, Patnaik broke former West Bengal CM Jyoti Basu’s record as the second longest-serving CM of India.

A five-time CM, Patnaik took charge as Odisha CM on March 5, 2000, and has been holding the position since.

The BJP, which won eight of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha in 2019, is expecting gains this time, besides winning Assembly elections.

Six Lok Sabha and 42 Assembly seats in Odisha will go to the polls in the last phase on June 1 with parliamentary and Assembly polls in the state being held simultaneously over four phases starting May 13.

The BJP and BJD had struck an alliance in Odisha in 1998 and later ruled the state together until 2009. Their ties ended after the 2008 anti-Christian riots in Kandhamal.

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