Four-time MP and BJD’s chief whip in the outgoing 16th Lok Sabha Tathagata Satpathy on Tuesday announced his retirement from active politics.
The MP from Dhenkanal said he would not contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The reason, he said, was his desire to go back to journalism. “There is a need for more fearless voices in journalism now,” Satpathy, owner and editor of leading Odia-language newspaper Dharitri, told The Indian Express.
“Distancing myself from politics to refocus on journalism,” Satpathy said. “I realised that politics is not the only means to support people. Social leadership is lacking in this country.”
He expressed gratitude to Chief Minister and BJD leader Naveen Patnaik for his support throughout his terms.
Satpathy was a member of the Odisha assembly from 1990-95. He was also a member of the 12th, 14th and 15th Lok Sabha.
The 62-year-old leader said he wanted to give an opportunity to youth to come up in politics. “Also a dire need to leave space for young change makers and policy formulators,” he said.
Inside the BJD, Satpathy was known to speak his mind on many occasions. At a party event in 2017, he criticised the BJD for its factionalism.
“We lack mutual understanding. Workers are part of factions. Legislators and MPs are part of groups. This groupism is hurting us individually. If we do not take care, we will be wiped out,” Satpathy had said.
While Patnaik supported many policies of the Centre, such as demonetisation, Satpathy had a different view. “If we do not take an open and clear stand against the BJP and we always play both sides, then people will also say, why should I not write to the postmaster instead of using the postman? There will be no pre-poll or post-poll alliance needs to be clearly stated by the top rung, not just by me,” he said in the same speech.
Satpathy built a reputation as a parliamentarian of wit. In a Lok Sabha speech on mob violence, he said, “Gau rakshaks running around in the countryside are probably not aware that most cows in India are actually Jersey cows. They are not their mothers.”
He has also protested against what he termed the hegemony of the Hindi language over regional languages, such as Odia.
Satpathy is the younger son of Odisha’s only woman chief minister Nandini Satpathy.
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