Modi praises Pradhan at Paradip inauguration

Vol 19, PW 11 (11 Feb 16) People & Policy

Violent clashes between supporters of the BJP and the BJD parties might have soured the occasion for some – including a reporter from PETROWATCH who was rudely shoved around.

But the inauguration of the Paradip refinery in Orissa on February 7 was nonetheless pleasant for oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan who was praised at the event by Narendra Modi not just once but twice. Pradhan undoubtedly felt like a rock-star when Modi commended him in front of about 100,000 people who attended the event.

Modi had arrived on the stage set up near the refinery’s administrative building at about 1pm. Office bearers in the BJP state unit chanted “Modi, Modi,” when he waved at the crowd.

Minutes later the Orissa state anthem played over the loudspeakers and everybody stood to attention. Pradhan took the mike and welcomed the PM and other dignitaries, speaking in Oriya instead of Hindi or English.

Next chief minister Naveen Patnaik spoke – but rather embarrassingly Modi’s supporters drowned him out and refused to listen. But Patnaik soldiered on bravely and thanked Modi for the visit.

Modi took the mike at 1:45 pm and greeted everybody in Oriya. During his 30 minute speech he reiterated that the oil ministry wants to reduce India’s crude import dependence by 10% by 2022 to mark 75 years of Indian independence from British rule.

He added that the refinery will create jobs for Orissa’s young.