Close on the heels of the renewed cordiality between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, the focus shifted to a meeting between Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Patnaik in Delhi.
Eyebrows were raised, as is usual in such circumstances, when two staunch rivals broke out the old jinx and looked up for new avenues. But, given the precedence of a bitter wordy battle waged by Pradhan against the BJD supremo for last two years or so, it is not easy to accept that their last parley in Delhi was a kind of courtesy gesture from both.
The chief minister who had been seen all these days keeping away from the servitude of any formal political formalities with the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in Odisha particularly, must not have chosen to call upon the union minister.
Rather, as sources in the BJP say, there could have been a suggestion from the BJP central leadership and Pradhan saw it as a good opportunity to recover from the rots of poll days animus. When his big bosses like Modi and Amit Shah could praise Patnaik with all the disarming sincerity at their command, why should Pradhan run against the headwind in Odisha.
Pradhan, who this time has got the mines portfolio in addition to his old assignments, knows that Odisha being a mineral rich state, he badly requires to work in tandem with the state apparatus for a lot of reasons.
And, on the other hand, the chief minister must have had the realisation that he too requires a mutual space to deal with matters like minerals in order to avoid ambiguities as had happened during the UPA regime in which there was an alleged scam in the mining sector to a tune of thousands of crores.
On the political front, Naveen Patnaik has not only survived the Modi-wave sweeping all across but has been able to show Pradhan his place keeping the BJP to a mere 23 against the rabble of ‘Mission-120’.