[Watch] Union Minister Tudu’s Intolerance For Govt Officials In Odisha Not New
Bhubaneswar: Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs and Jal Shakti Bishweswar Tudu’s displeasure at the functioning of government officials under BJD rule in Odisha is well-known.
Known for his intolerance for government officials, most of whom he feels only take orders from ‘Third Floor’ and have no regard for official procedures, Tudu, in a viral video, once spoke of a strategy to make officials fall in line similar to that of former Odisha Chief Minister and stalwart leader Biju Patnaik, who in 1991 encouraged people to thrash uncooperative officials.
In an interview to Odisha Bytes this month, the BJP MP from Mayurbhanj district, who has been booked for allegedly assaulting two government officials in Baripada on January 21, had spoken on the subject of beating up officials.
Asked whether beating up officials will help, Tudu, who often talks about protocol violations by officials in Odisha, said, “No system is followed by officials in Odisha. They believe that they have the protection of the BJD-led government and the Opposition can’t take them to the task.”
“Angry and upset, we sometimes feel that beating them up is the only solution when there is no other way… Obviously, I don’t mean that by only beating up officials, you can get work done,” he added.
“If a Collector forgets protocol, an SP forgets protocol, a district official forgets protocol… a mindset has formed among officials in Odisha. In some states, this has been going on… Not all officials but many officials have developed such a mindset,” the Union Minister said.
“The BJD is taking advantage of being in power for so long. Procedures and processes, doing things in a proper step by step way, are not being followed by officials. It has crossed all limits,” he added.
On January 21, Tudu allegedly assaulted two government officials at Baripada in Mayurbhanj district. A case has been registered at Baripada town police station. The Minister has refuted the allegations.
The two officials, District Planning Board Deputy Director Ashwini Mallik and Assistant Director Debashis Mohapatra, sustained injuries in the alleged assault and are undergoing treatment at the PRM Medical College and Hospital in Baripada.
Mohapatra has fractured his arm.
Speaking from his hospital bed, Mohapatra said on Saturday, “The Union Minister’s PA called and asked me to reach the party office at Takatpur with MPLAD files, which Tudu wanted to see. I said I was in a meeting and would go later in the day. I then spoke to Mallik, who said that it was improper to meet the Minister with government files at a political office as the Model Code of Conduct was in place because of the upcoming panchayat polls.”
“Mallik then called Tudu’s office. His PA answered. Mallik suggested that we can meet the Minister at the Circuit House or Planning Office. His PA said that he would speak to the Minister and get back,” Mohaptra further said.
“His PA called back and said that the Minister was in Bazar India (a mall in Baripada) and we can meet him there. We again suggested that the Circuit House would be a better place for the meeting,” he said.
“Then Tudu called and spoke to Mallik. When we reached, he asked where are the files. We said that it was not right to bring the files there. He lost his temper and said ‘don’t teach me protocol’. He picked up a rod first which he put away. He then grabbed a plastic chair and hit me thrice. He also assaulted Mallik thrice with the chair. He threatened to kill us and used foul language,” Mohapatra alleged.
In his reaction to the alleged attack, the Union Minister has termed it as false and baseless. “The officials had called to hold a review meeting with me. Since I was busy, the meeting could not be held and they went away,” Tudu said.
The BJD has demanded the dismissal of Tudu. “We condemn the incident. Two government officials are called by a Union Minister, are then assaulted by him resulting in a fractured arm and other injuries requiring hospitalisation. It’s unfortunate that a Union Minister indulged in hooliganism,” said Krushna Nanda Mohanty, BJD’s Baripada town president.
“The people of Mayurbhanj are shocked by Tudu’s action. How can Prime Minister Narendra Modi make him the MP of Mayurbhanj. The district’s people are very simple. After Tudu became Minister, he has been casting aspersions on government officials. He should be dismissed and arrested,” he said.