By: Radhika Ramaseshan
Odisha, one of India’s most placid states, suddenly felt political tremors activated by some dissent and desperation ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, once a close associate of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, was finally inducted into the BJP, which had kept him hanging for months after he quit the Biju Janata Dal — perhaps, not knowing if the move would please Patnaik who, for the ruling party, is a post-poll ally. Last week, Tathagata Satpathy, a four-time MP from Dhenkanal, announced that he was forsaking politics. The 63-year old Satpathy had everything it took to please Patnaik: pedigree (he was the scion of Odisha’s original power couple, Devendra and Nandini Satpathy), loyalty to the BJD, and keeping an appropriate balance between sounding kosher on gay sex and doing drugs in Parliament, and speaking the grassroots language with his constituents back home.