“What Amit Shah is to Narendra Modi, Pyari Babu was once to Naveen Patnaik”
Much of Pyari Mohan’s life revolved around the father-son duo of Biju and Naveen Patnaik, be it in both good or bad ways. At one time, Pyari had been super influential in the political affairs of Odisha which will always be reminisced in this state’s history. Thus the demise of Pyari after succumbing to a prolonged illness is certainly the end to a remarkable journey!
It’s said what what Amit Shah is to Narendra Modi, Pyari Babu was to Naveen. Here’s a summary of his political career.
1990-1995: A chief aide to Biju Patnaik
Pyari Mohan had a long and illustrious career as an IAS officer after which he was appointed as a principal secretary to Biju Patnaik, Odisha’s then chief minister! During this period, Pyari with his bright political skills became quite close to Biju and his family.
1997: The inception of a politically striking connection
Following the death of Biju Patnaik, Naveen had to take over his father’s ruling. Since Naveen was known to be more of a socialite who stayed quite aloof from Odisha and its political affairs, hence his mother recommended him to be under Pyari uncle’s guidance. This is how exactly their bond got initiated with Pyari being the leading strategist and mentor of Naveen!
2000-2004: The key shaper of Biju Janata Dal (BJD)
With Pyari’s meticulous planning, Naveen smoothly acquired the position of Odisha’s chief minister in 2000. From then, Pyari was looked up by Naveen and other officials for every minor or extensive matter of the state. More than Naveen Niwas, Pyari’s residence became the primary place where every move was officially planned. Besides commanding over the daily political affairs, Pyari was even instrumental in suspending people, whom he considered as Naveen’s adversaries. Thus on noticing Pyari’s well crafted judgements, a grateful Naveen sent him to join Rajya Sabha in 2004!
Until 2009: Garnering attention through his diplomatic expertise
Pyari was much known for putting an end to the once strong BJP-BJD alliance just ahead of the 2009 assembly polls while even making the BJD attain a clear and spectacular victory in the same polls. This phase was a high point in Naveen-Pyari’s bond since the chief minister was initially sceptical in dumping BJP but the suggestion of Pyari paved way for the best. During and post the elections, many schemes were launched under Pyari’s supervision, including the cheap rice scheme which is still popular today!
Post 2009: Beginning of the downside
However after 2009, many incidents occurred between Naveen and Pyari which brought cracks in their association. There was a moment when Naveen asked his bureaucrats to stop reporting or to seek suggestions from Pyari. Evidently there were many circumstances, including the time when Naveen campaigned single-handedly for an election, which depicted the difficulties in the much revered partnership!
2012-2014: Pyari’s ultimate collapse
The indications were enough to stir Mohapatra and let him realise that his ally had gone cold! However it was on May 29, 2012 when Pyari was accused of a failed coup against Naveen Patnaik, while the latter was on an official trip to London. Both raised verbal charges to one another and in that heat Naveen also dubbed Pyari to be a backstabber. Later Pyari even formed his own party, which unfortunately couldn’t prolong thus marking an end to his political career!
No matter how many landmark or disturbing moments were there in Pyari Mohan’s life, but he will forever be remembered and acknowledged for being the ‘Chanakya’ of Odisha’s politics!
FT & SM Image: Front Line