The Pragativadi Powerlist:
Like every year, we herewith present the Pragativadi Powerlist 2018 on the occasion of the festival of lights (Diwali). The list has been prepared keeping in mind round the year activities and reviewing success, failures as well as highs and lows in various segments of the powerful and famous personalities of Odisha in which we have ranked nine of them in our Powerlist this year. Their influence is limited to their field of work and these personalities are not always showered with praise but often find themselves amid criticism and controversy. Yet, with their proficiency and vision, they have emerged with flying colors and moved forward.
Only such figures in Odisha have made it to the Powerlist on the basis of the opinion of experts and Pragativadi team’s evaluation of their performance this year.
Based on Pragativadi’s values of ethical journalism we have prepared an impartial, unbiased, unprejudiced and fair Powerlist. While some of last year’s Powerlist have made it to the list again, many have been dropped. We have chosen personalities from an array of fields such as education and social work, politics, administration, mass media, industry, spirituality, art and culture. Despite every effort to single out a sports personality from the state, we could not find anyone suitable. We have arranged the names of personalities on the Powerlist in alphabetical order. We hope our readers will enjoy and appreciate the Powerlist like the years before.
THE PRAGATIVADI POWERLIST
Achyuta Samanta is the name which is closely associated with the education, culture and social service of Odisha. He is the person who is popular not only among the denizens of Odisha’s remote tribal regions, but also in national as well as international educational arena. He is widely acclaimed as an educationist of repute. The educational institutions like KIIT University and KISS are glaring examples of his selfless effort to spread education among the masses. He has no powers, yet the most powerful personality of the country. Therefore, Samanta always tops the list of Powerlist on education sector. The educational institutions like KIIT and KISS are widely acclaimed world over due to sheer hard work, sincerity, vision and love to his work. Samanta has kept his popularity intact in the field of education and social service and his new image as the BJD MP makes no difference. The only Odia to bag a number of national and international awards, Samanta is extremely humble. Apart from KISS and KIIT, his other achievement is Pradyumna Bal Memorial Hospital. He is the founder of Kadambini, the literary magazine, and electronic media Kalinga TV. Despite his popularity as an educationist and social worker, his foray into politics has not gone down well with some of his critics. Samanta is a person who loves his village, people and has developed Kalarabanka into an ideal village. He always says Pradyumna Bal, founder of The Pragativadi , has inspired him a lot and his blessings give come to achieve strides in life.
BJD MP Bhartruhari Mahtab finds place in the list of influential persons of the state as he is being regarded as an efficient parliamentarian over the years. Mahtab represents Cuttack parliamentary constituency and presently the leader of BJD parliamentary party. He is widely known for debates and discussions on various issues of the nation in the Parliament and therefore is the one among the best parliamentarians. Mahtab adorns the Power List published in The Pragativadi every year as he is the only politician who works for his people whom he represents. It is a fact that Mahtab has been representing the important Lok Sabha seat of Cuttack wins the election with huge margin owing to the popularity of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Mahtab is known for his clean image in politics and never ever has become controversial, neither within his party nor outside. He has never gone out of the track by expressing his dissent over the decisions or the policies of the party leadership. After the publication of an informal discussion in the media sometime ago he was served with a show cause notice by the party. Many people among us might not known that Mahtab, instead of replying to the notice, straightaway sent his resignation to BJD Supremo Naveen Patnaik. The matter ended then and there.
The other political leader in the Pragativadi Powerlist is Dharmendra Pradhan. He is one among the powerful political leaders of the country and his name is reckoned with when political analysis arises out of BJD, BJP and Congress. Pradhan has been elected to Rajya Sabha from other states. Pradhan is acclaimed as a political leader who calls shots outside Odisha. Pradhan is successfully running one of the important ministries, petroleum, natural gas and skill development, in Modi government. He is regarded as one of the powerful ministers in Narendra Modi cabinet and an important leader from Odisha. Pradhan is the only BJP leader who calls shots in Odisha politics without any party positions in the state. It is his endeavour and charisma that political analysts put BJP in number two place leaving Congress behind. No one knows what will be the outcome of election in Odisha, but Pradhan has tried his best to strengthen BJP’s position in the state.
The sprint queen of Odisha, Dutee Chand, needs no introduction. The pangs of poverty have not deterred her from achieving the feat. Her successive victories have brought name, fame and glory to the state. She is included in the Power List due to her feat in the sporting arena. Her athletic career was about to finish when she struggled a lot to participate in Jakarta. It was a stupendous journey from Jajpur to Jakarta.Dutee had bagged medals in Jakarta Asiad and she is the only Odia athlete to bring fame to the state. It is very unfortunate that Dutee was barred from big events without being involved in cheating or doping. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has encouraged her by giving Rs 3 crore in recognition to her contribution to enhance the image of the state in sports.
This is the age of democracy. Monarchy has long gone, but Dibyasingha Deb, the king of Puri, rules the heart of over four crore Odia. He is dubbed as the uncrowned king and regarded as the Gajapati who is the incarnation of lord Jagannath. Gajapati has made into the Power List pages of The Pragativadi as he is widely respected and dedicated to the service of Lord Jagannath. Dibyasingha Deb has kept himself away from politics and this gesture has earned him reverence from the people of Odisha. Gajapati has earned a special place for him as performs Chhera Pahanra during Rath Yatra. He has kept his spiritual image intact at a time when the so-called babas have tarnished the image of the state by indulging in acts unbecoming of their work. He is regarded as a good advisor to Shankaracharya and gives clear-cut opinions on temple administration and religious matters cropping from time to time.
State Congress president Niranjan Patnaik has instilled blood into the party through his work and influence. He has donned the mantle of the party when it was losing its identity in the state and going away from the people of Odisha. He is a person who is known for his wealth and power, but he has enlivened a ray of hope among the leaders of Congress in Odisha about its electoral prospects. The Congress party will contest elections under his leadership in 2019. Niranjan is said to be the only leader in Odisha Congress who is close to the workers.
Odia sculptor Padmavibhushan Raghunath Mohapatra is a name to be reckoned with. He has been nominated to Rajya Sabha by the President of India. Mohapatra is the first ever Odia to be nominated to Rajya Sabha. He has become closer to BJP, but as a sculptor of international repute has earned laurels for his work. He is born to a sculptor family in Puri district in 1943. In 1975 Mohapatra got Padmashree and won Padmabhushan and Padmavibhushan in 2001 and 2013. He has sculpted a statue of Sun god in Central Hall of parliament, statue of Buddha in Paris and a number of other works in prime minister’s office and Haryana’s Suraj Kund. The sculptor was in limelight last year for his stand on construction of a second Konark temple. His dabbling in politics has drawn the attention of many.
Odisha-born entrepreneur and founder & CEO of OYO rooms Ritesh Agarwal is recognised as youngest self-made entrepreneur who has also secured a spot in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Though his start-up sans experience-based brand, he has set foot in 154 cities in the country.
At such a young age, he has been conferred with the Thiel fellowship and had many other business awards. OYO which is considered as the largest hotel network has tie-ups with 22,000 hotels across the country. Reinventing the online booking of hotel rooms, Agarwal has been spreading his network in other areas also.
Born in November 17, 1993 in Rayagada’s Bissamcuttack and nourished in the Maoist infested district, it is unlike for anyone to imagine that a small town boy could reach the zenith. But, he has proved it. After establishing the OYO Rooms in 2013, the company has a net worth of USD 5 billion in just five years. Despite being the Business World’s Young Entrepreneur, Ritesh is less popular in Odisha. As Ritesh is a successful personality in the field of business, he has been placed in the Pragativadi Powerlist.
A few days ago, Ritesh met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during the Make in Odisha Conclave’s road show in Kolkata and discussed about spreading his business in the tourism sector also. However, his vision to transform Odisha is yet to be known.
Noted for his unblemished tactics and political maneuvers in today’s Odisha politics, IAS officer V Kartikeyan Pandian might be shy away from the limelight of everyone but he is one of the most valuable administrators and has secured hi spot in the Pragativadi Powerlist for the past two years. Pandian has always been a very debatable personality especially among the politicos. Since he is probably the tactician and the sole game planner of the ruling BJD he has always been behind enemy lines.
Though a Tamil by birth, he is a very dedicated Odia by action. Such is his track record. From being an IAS officer from Odisha cadre of 2000 to marrying an Odia girl named Sujata Rout of the same cadre he has been ever since settled well enough to consider Odisha as his home.
But he has never allowed anyone to advertise or rather be opportunistic in targeting him because he is always the main man behind the curtain but is never out to show it. His dedication, loyalty to the Chief Minister himself bears testimony to this fact.
But this loyalty has also brought him criticisms. The more successful he has been the more criticism he has been meted out to. But that has not deterred him from doing his work with ease and tranquility. Being a young, silent, respectable, humble officer he seldom goes out of his chores. Only spot he visits regularly besides CMO, Secretariat, Government office, and Naveen Niwas is Puri Jagannath Temple.
He has proved his talents and capabilities while working as the Private Secretary to Chief Minister and as a collector in Ganjam and Mayurbhanj districts. It is well learned fact that behind every major decision by the CM himself there is a bit of Pandian.