Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India]: VK Pandian, former IAS officer and BJD leader has said that there have been systemic improvements in the devolution of grants to states.
Speaking in an interview with media Pandian also stressed on the good relationship shared between Prime Minister.
When asked if he believed that cooperative federalism was redefined in 2014, Pandian said he felt that many issues had been ironed out.
"I would say so. To a great extent, a lot of things have been ironed out, including the devolution. Even though we say that we have to get more funds, but there have been systemic improvements on that score.
Pandian also refuted the charge by the opposition that the BJP and the BJP were playing a fixed match as the BJD had consistently backed the centre on crucial bills.
"I think our Chief Minister believes in not doing politics when elections are not around. He believes strongly in work. He says that I am in this job to work for the people. Whatever help the people of the state need, he will take that decision at that point of time. He is very clear in his approach" Pandian said.
"If you hear his speeches, he makes it very clear that I will have a constructive cooperation with the centre. I want the state to progress. I am not here to fight with BJP. I am not here to fight with Congress. I want the state to grow. Whatever is required for the state to grow, I'll do it. I'll sacrifice. I'll compromise. But I want my state to grow. When elections are happening, there will be electoral politics. But otherwise, that is one of the main reasons the Chief Minister is fully supportive of simultaneous elections for both Assembly and Parliament" Pandian added.
Pandian however said that the BJD had opposed the centre of several critical issues like the farm law bills.
"When something is against the interest of the country, the BJD has always opposed it. Or when BJD is not convinced about something, BJD has not gone ahead with BJP. I'll give you two examples. One is the farmer's bill. BJD did not support, Farmer's bill was withdrawn. The second one was NRC. Our chief minister made it very clear it's not good for the country" Pandian said
Pandian says that despite the state choosing to implement its own schemes ahead of the central schemes in some areas there has been no confrontation with the centre.
"The state has not implemented Ayushman Bharat. If we had implemented Ayushman Bharat, we would be covering 55 to 60% of the population. Here we are covering 90% of the population. The CM wants to take it to 100% population" Pandian said.
"Naveen Patnaik doesn't do for the sake of confrontation. He is convinced that people of Odisha need that extra mile running to take care of their needs. Because he thinks health is one issue which can bring one down. Because if in a family a health issue happens, a person who has just come out of poverty, he can slip back to poverty. And it will take at least two generations for him to come back again. So he strongly believes that if you have to fight poverty, then you have to assure health. And you have to do it in the best possible way. I may say that this is the best scheme in the country right now, which has 90% of the population being covered. the state is spending about 260 crores a month, which is about 3,200 crores a year" Pandian added.
Pandian says that Naveen Patnaik believes in constructive politics which is a reason he gets elected again and again.
"If a state like Odisha is spending Rs 3,000 odd crores on health, so that is the reach the chief minister wants to get. It's an ambitious project. It's an aspirational reach. Naveen Patnaik implemented Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, which is a game changer. The way Naveen Patnaik does politics is different from most people in the country. That is why he gets elected repeatedly. And instead of anti-incumbency, he has pro-incumbency. Naveen Patnaik's brand of politics is very different. He keeps people at its forefront" Pandian said.
"Women voters have voted enormously towards the BJP in many state elections like in Uttar Pradesh and all. But in Odisha, if you go on any electoral rally or you go to any public place with the CM, you sit behind him, see those eyes lit up when they look at him. That is a magical connection between the Chief Minister and the women voters of the state. They come in large numbers to vote for him and they are very protective about Naveen Babu" Pandian added.
Pandian's assertions show that he is confident of Naveen Patnaik winning an unprecedented sixth term in office despite the tough fight from the BJP and the Congress.