ncumbent Puri Lok Sabha MP and BJD’s candidate from the constituency Pinaki Mishra is now busy campaigning in the Parliament segment. In an interview with Manish Kumar of Orissa POST, Mishra talks about his performance, deserting leaders, and other issues. Excerpts:
OP: In the 2019 elections, what new promises you are making to the voters of Puri?
I am trying to keep my track record as good as I can. I do not promise to the voters anything. Promises are not made randomly. Voters keep raising their demands and they are fulfilled. My only promise is your (voters) demands will be met. The party manifesto talks about the promises and it is totally comprehensive.
OP: Why do you think people should vote for you or your party in Puri Lok Sabha segment?
The access to Puri in terms of road and rail connectivity has now increased tremendously which anybody can see. Puri has now become a popular tourist destination unlike earlier when it had limited seasonal tourist inflow. Now, Puri hotels are jam-packed throughout the year. Doubling of lines and improving Puri railway station. Puri was included in the HRIDAY scheme as I was the chairman of the Standing Committee on Urban Affairs. There are many things to count. Surveys by reputed magazines have said I am one of the most attentive and efficient MPs in the country.
OP: BJP has recently fielded Sambit Patra from Puri while Congress went for Satyaprakash Nayak. Do you face threats from any of them?
As far as BJP is considered, they promised Narendra Modi and delivered Sambit Patra. As the Twitter trolls say this is so typical of the BJP that you promise the moon and deliver the dust. Patra is fighting the battle the way he wants to fight. Some people will say he is little bit a joker but that is really unfortunate. Patra just makes noise and without substance. When it comes to Satyaprakash Nayak he is not even in the picture. I don’t think the Congress can even get 40,000 votes.
OP: Recently Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik shunned many veteran MPs but retained you. What special virtues made you sail in these rough times?
Party is the most important thing. We are here just because of the party or the cadres. This is sad that who is an eight-term MP decides to join BJP but Naveen Babu selects candidates based on their winnability and based on their image. That must be my popularity in my constituency otherwise Naveen Babu is ruthless in shunting incumbent MPs and MLAs.
OP: Your critics say an MP who also practices law could find it tough to serve people?
I am not alone. Noted leaders from the national parties like P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Arun Jaitley and Kalyan Banerjee practice law. In the whole world, there are lawyers who are politicians and many lawyers who were part of freedom struggle joined politics. They are symbiotic. This ensures that I get extra income from my practice which can keep me away from indulging in corrupt practices.