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Fear of defeat makes Naveen speak Oriya

Patnaik has been facing criticism for his inability to speak Oriya since he entered politics after the death of his father Biju Patnaik in 1997.
PTI | By Indo-Asian News Service, Bhubaneswar
PUBLISHED ON APR 24, 2004 07:01 PM IST

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is suddenly speaking in his mother tongue Oriya.

Patnaik, seeking a mandate to form the state government for a second time, has been facing criticism for his inability to speak Oriya since he entered politics after the death of his legendary father Biju Patnaik in 1997.

Although he repeatedly attempted to master the language by engaging tutors, he has been unsuccessful. But the fear of possible defeat in the elections has forced him to resume the language learning exercise.

He no more speaks Hindi at home, unless absolutely necessary, an insider said.

"He is always trying to interact with us in Oriya," the insider said on the condition of anonymity. "His Oriya has improved a lot."

Similarly, Patnaik is also speaking to his party colleagues in Oriya even though his hold over the language remains poor.

"But he is now able to speak," noted a Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader.

In fact Patnaik has been delivering most of his speeches during campaigning for the state and parliamentary elections in Oriya.

Earlier, he knew only two or three words "but now he is able to complete a few sentences", added another BJD leader.

Patnaik surprised even Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani during their election campaign by delivering his speeches in Oriya without making many mistakes.

However, the main opposition Congress party is still making Patnaik's lack of command over Oriya an election issue.

"Even a parrot can speak a few words in Oriya but our chief minister is not able to pronounce Oriya words accurately," says former chief minister and state Congress chief JB Patnaik.

The son of illustrious Oriya politician and former chief minister Biju Patnaik, Naveen did his schooling at the prestigious Doon School at Dehradun (the Uttaranchal state capital) and graduated in humanities from the University of Delhi in 1967.

Born in Cuttack, Patnaik has spent most of his time outside Orissa before entering politics.

He could not master the language despite being in politics for six long years but the fear of possible defeat may have forced him to learn it rapidly, said a colleague.

"But for us it is a blessing," the colleague added. "Party workers and supporters are happy that he can now speak Oriya."

Bhubaneswar, Apr 24 (IANS)

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is suddenly speaking in his mother tongue Oriya.

Patnaik, seeking a mandate to form the state government for a second time, has been facing criticism for his inability to speak Oriya since he entered politics after the death of his legendary father Biju Patnaik in 1997.

Although he repeatedly attempted to master the language by engaging tutors, he has been unsuccessful. But the fear of possible defeat in the elections has forced him to resume the language learning exercise.

He no more speaks Hindi at home, unless absolutely necessary, an insider said.

"He is always trying to interact with us in Oriya," the insider said on the condition of anonymity. "His Oriya has improved a lot."

Similarly, Patnaik is also speaking to his party colleagues in Oriya even though his hold over the language remains poor.

"But he is now able to speak," noted a Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader.

In fact Patnaik has been delivering most of his speeches during campaigning for the state and parliamentary elections in Oriya.

Earlier, he knew only two or three words "but now he is able to complete a few sentences", added another BJD leader.

Patnaik surprised even Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani during their election campaign by delivering his speeches in Oriya without making many mistakes.

However, the main opposition Congress party is still making Patnaik's lack of command over Oriya an election issue.

"Even a parrot can speak a few words in Oriya but our chief minister is not able to pronounce Oriya words accurately," says former chief minister and state Congress chief JB Patnaik.

The son of illustrious Oriya politician and former chief minister Biju Patnaik, Naveen did his schooling at the prestigious Doon School at Dehradun (the Uttaranchal state capital) and graduated in humanities from the University of Delhi in 1967.

Born in Cuttack, Patnaik has spent most of his time outside Orissa before entering politics.

He could not master the language despite being in politics for six long years but the fear of possible defeat may have forced him to learn it rapidly, said a colleague.

"But for us it is a blessing," the colleague added. "Party workers and supporters are happy that he can now speak Oriya."

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