Accused of shielding two ministers allegedly invloved in the multi-crore rupees coal scam, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has a record of either sacking or seeking resignation of at least 21 ministers during his decade-long regime.
This was pointed out by the opposition Congress MLAs on dharna near Mahatma Gandhi statue in the state assembly premises and boycotting house proceedings since July 17.
"We do not understand why the chief minister is protecting the two when he has removed 21 ministers during his 10 years in office," Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan said.
However, in 2010 after he returned to power for the third consecutive time, Patnaik preferred to protect the two ministers even as opposition gave evidence agaist them. "This act of Patnaik shows his changed face," he said.
Describing Patnaik as 'highly image conscious', Harichandan said the Congress doubts the chief minister's act of shielding the two ministers.
The Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh echoed him while claiming that there were evidences against the two ministers.
Patnaik dropped three senior ministers - Nalini Kanta Mohanty, Kamal Das and Prashant Nanda on July 9, 2001 without any provocation, Harichandan said adding action was taken without any allegation against the three.
Patnaik had in a statement on August 9 that year in the assembly clarified that he was forced to remove the three ministers to pave the way for proper investigation against them by the vigilance, he said.