Chasing His Father’s Dreams is a comprehensive exposition of the circumstances under which Naveen Patnaik, the founder and leader of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) political party who is now in his fourth term as Chief Minister of the eastern Indian state of Odisha, rose to power. Biswajit Mohanty deploys conversations with local people, politicians, activists and journalists as well as extensive research conducted using the Right to Information Act to analyse the reasons for Patnaik’s immense popularity over the years despite the fact of his unfamiliarity with the Odia language necessitating a certain degree of alienation from the masses.
In this book, divided into four sections, Mohanty critically assesses the nature of the progress that has occurred under Patnaik’s leadership for 16 years and examines in detail the elections to the state legislative assembly from 2000, allegations of corruption against corporate conglomerates such as Vedanta Resources plc and socio-economic issues related to mining, health, education and rural welfare in the state.
While pointing out how Patnaik has attracted criticism because his government has been slow to act on checking rising inequity, stark poverty, corruption within the ruling party, the mining mafia, mass unemployment, displacement of project-affected people and suicides by farmers on account of the continuing agricultural crises in Odisha, Mohanty nonetheless anticipates another ‘sweeping victory' for the BJD in the next elections to the state assembly that are due in 2019.
Biswajit Mohanty is a chartered accountant and an avid naturalist, his interest in wildlife conservation spurred him to acquire a doctorate degree on wildlife crime. He has worked extensively on enforcement of forest and wildlife laws and studied in depth the human-elephant conflict in the state of Odisha. An active user of the Right to Information Act, Mohanty has used it successfully to expose several major scams. He has filed more than 1,500 RTI applications in his crusades against corruption. He is a recipient of the Wildlife Service Award (2001) from Sanctuary Asia-ABN Amro Bank, the Ford Conservation and Environment Grant (2001), the Orissa Environment Society Award (2010), the National RTI Award for Bravery (2010) from the National RTI Alliance, Lucknow, the Times of India Leadership Award (2011) and the INTACH Gaurav Sanman Award (2013).