By Subhransu Panda, Bhubaneswar:
- 2018 may witness number of journalists entering politics in Odisha
- BJD to use two big media houses by offering them political benefits
Favourable political winds are blowing for editor and former MP Soumya Ranjan Patnaik to start a new journey. Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, one of the leading figures in Odisha media, seems to be hypnotised by Biju Janata Dal. Soumya babu, used to be vocal against ruling BJD in many issues ranging from farmers problems to corruption, is now openly showing sympathy for the party. His occasional editorials, the way his media house sees news related to the government and BJD and above all his closeness towards the party heavyweights signal a political inclination.
Soumya Ranjan Patnaik is the chairman and managing director of Sambad group which runs Sambad, the largest circulated Odia daily and Kanak News, a rapidly growing TV channel. Sambad was not even at the second position when congress party was in power in Odisha some 20 years back. As BJD wore the crown in Odisha, Sambad‘s anti-government status raised it as numero uno.
His news channel,being pale and stale during its birth, now holds a major stake in viewership as they followed the same path that Sambad traveled for last 20 years.
Though he is a well-known figure and can win political wars without any support from existing parties, none of his aids acquire that winning ability. Gradually he is being squeezed into an one-man army.
The man who is successful almost in all fields except politics is now seen in the close vicinity of BJD. His frequent meetings with BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik and his close aids in both party and administration, signal a game-changing situation both for the party and Soumya Babu.
It’s being touted that Soumya Babu, earlier who had tasted his fate in BJP and Congress, may join BJD. And it’s also buzzing that he may enter the upper house and one of his close guys may get an assembly ticket from BJD.
Manoj Ranjan Nayak, founder of one of the major educational group SoA is also trying his fate with BJD. The director of Summa Real Media, which runs another leading news channel News7 and a promising newspaper Prameya, was in trouble a year and half back due to an unfortunate incident at Sum Hospital. A man from Kendrapada, Manoj Ranjan Nayak is also building a good rapport in his area. His news channel is also trying to give more focus on Kendrapada to counter its competitor OTV.
As BJD lost its hope on Baijayant Panda (his family owns OTV), it’s being said that they may field Manoj Ranjan Nayak in place of Baijayant for the lower house. It’s also buzzing around that the head of his news channel News-7, Ardhendu Das may get an assembly ticket from BJD.
Media in Odisha, being the supreme power in political turf, now plays pivotal role in elections and brainwashing. Most of the political parties are trying to pocket media houses and to avail a status of prime beneficiary of it.
As BJD suspended Baijayant Panda and as the party fears losing support from OTV, they are developing equations with other media houses. If the above said equations are proved true, BJD will have open support from two major newspapers and two major channels apart from their existing ones.
On the other hand, it’s heard that Bharatiya Janata Party is too trying hard to counter BJD the same way.
Subhransu Panda is an author & journalist.