Bhubaneswar: Former Union Minister Dilip Ray on Friday resigned as an MLA from Rourkela constituency and quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying that he acknowledged his failure in living up to the expectations of the people.
Ray, on grounds of “moral responsibility”, also announced that he would not be contesting from the Rourkela seat in the next year’s Lok Sabha elections.
Thanking the people of Rourkela constituency for his support, Ray, in a lengthy letter, termed his decision as “emotionally too painful and difficult”. “I, at this stage have nothing to offer but an apology to my people who have always stood by see through thick and thin. I hope my constituents will understand the unavoidable circumstances that rendered it necessary for me to take this difficult decision,” he wrote.
Recalling his political journey, he said, “In 2014, after a long gap, I decided to make a comeback to electoral politics and contest the Rourkela Assembly Constituency seat. Rourkela has always remained close to my heart and even though away from electoral politics, it has always been my esteemed priority to give my best attention to the Steel City.”
Ray underscored that he envisioned a whole lot of development works for the city and had promised to fulfill the “long-ignored dreams and aspirations” of the people who had reposed their faith in him.
“I did put up the best of my efforts to the best of my ability and left no stone unturned to materialize the dreams and aspirations of my constituents but at this stage, I acknowledge my failure in living up to their expectations and therefore, taking up the moral responsibility. I have decided to quit as the Member of State Legislative Assembly as well as from the membership of Bharatiya Janata Party,” the former Union Minister said.
“Among others, Brahmani Bridge and the upgradation of IGH to a Medical College cum Super Speciality Hospital were the two most burning issues concerning the region. These were also the two emotive issues based on which I had contested the 2014 elections. It is in the public domain that posts my election, these two issues have been the most pressing priorities for me. From calling on Prime Minister, Union MoRTH Minister, Union Steel Minister and SAIL Chairman to impress upon them the need of expeditious construction of both these projects, to writing numerous letters and repeatedly raising these issues in the state Assembly as well as on other public forums, I did everything which I could have done in my official as well as personal capacity. However, the relentless efforts and the intense follow-ups on sty part have not been able to produce the desired results,” Ray elaborated.
He said that as far as the issue of upgradation of IGH to a Super Speciality Hospital and Medical College (SSHMC) is concerned, apart from undertaking the modernization of some departments, nothing worthwhile happened.
“At a point of time, there was also a talk that Rs 200 crores were sanctioned for the upgradation of ISO and that the work would commence soon. The Central Ministers visiting Rourkela also spoke on similar lines. However, that remained confined to a mere declaration only and the project is yet to see the light of the day,” Ray added.
Talking about the second Brahmani Bridge, Ray said that after repeated requests, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had laid the foundation stone for the structure on July 21, 2017, and promised that the work would commence within 15 days.
“Had it indeed commenced within 15 days, a better part of the project would have been executed till now but to great disappointment, this project too is yet to witness any significant development. Though there have been several ill-informed claims that the construction work of the bridge is underway but a simple assessment of the ground conditions by anyone will bring to fore the reality,” the former Union Minister said.
“I consider it as my personal failure and inability to deliver on commitments and hold myself solely responsible for it. These were the two issues on which I fought the 2014 elections and has failed in delivering on them, I have no moral authority to go to the people and seek a re-election and neither will my conscience permit that. Therefore, it is with deep anguish that I have also decided not to contest the upcoming assembly elections in 2019 from Rourkela,” Ray added.
Highlighting his past achievements, Ray said that he played an instrumental role in declaring Rourkela as a Smart City, establishing a Regional Passport Office, a commercially viable airport, modernizing of Rourkela Railway Station along with other development works. He credited Sundargarh MP and Union Minister Jual Oram for playing a “significant role” in these projects.
Underlining that the people of Rourkela constituency were going through “hardships due to the non-execution of the projects”, Ray said that it “pained him immensely”.
He asserted that “incessant, annoying, and inordinate delays” has marred the construction of the two projects and has particularly led to “generation of two strong perceptions amongst the masses”.
“The delay has to do with a tug-of-war within the BJP and that someone very powerful is deliberately creating impediments in the execution of these projects, just to ensure that I don’t walk away with the credit of these projects. Due to it, there is also a perception that until I remain the MLA, these demands would not be fulfilled,” he said.
“There is also a perception amongst the BJP workers and the people of the district that a certain section within the party itself doesn’t want Sundargarh to become a BJP bastion and their efforts have been oriented towards ensuring that BJP doesn’t fare as well as it did in 2014 elections in Sundargarh district. However, the fact that I have failed to deliver on the issues on which I contested in 2014 elections fills me with shame and this guilt torments me from within,” Ray added.
Praising his constituents of “love, affection and support”, Ray further said, “Whether these perceptions are right or wrong is for the time to decide but for me, being an obstacle to the realisation of the long-standing demand of the people of Rourkela is the last thing in my life I can think of. Any political position that comes at the cost of development of Rourkela can be of little value to me and I am willing to sacrifice it happily and unhesitatingly.”
He assured that he would continue his struggle for the fulfillment of the two projects and would always be available for any cooperation sought.