HomeBureaucracyAppointmentsTwo coups, two CMs, both survived

Two coups, two CMs, both survived

People talk about coup of 1996 when the former vice president and then chief minister of Rajasthan Bhairon Singh Shekhawat had gone to US for treatment. In his absence, BJP MLA from Sardarshahar Bhanwar Lal Sharma, who was sulking for not getting a berth in Shekhawat cabinet, hatched a conspiracy to topple his government with the help of Congress.

A similar thing happened 2,000 kms away in Bhubaneswar in 2012, when a former bureaucrat Pyarimohan Mohapatra close to chief minister Naveen Patnaik and also a confidante of his father Biju Patnaik, plotted a coup against the CM Naveen Patnaik when he was away to UK – his maiden foreign trip after becoming CM in 2012.

The Rajasthan Coup

In 1990, BJP (85 ) was running a coalition government with Janta Dal (54 seats). Bhairon Singh Shekhawat was the chief minister. Janta Dal withdrew support from the government following Lal Krishna Advani's Rath yatra and the government came in minority. Just then Janta Dal leaders Digvijay Singh and Bhanwar Lal among 22 MLA rescued the government.

In 1993, once again BJP (95 seats) came in power with the support of Digvijay Singh's Janta Dal (6). Bhanwar Lal Sharma again came as rescuer to Shekhawat government and was expecting a cabinet berth. But Shekhawat didn't offer him a ministerial position. This enraged Sharma and when Bhairon Singh went for his treatment to US in 1996, he tried to topple the government with help of Congress, which denied him the support.

Bhairon Singh Shekhawat came to know about it and returned immediately with getting his operation done and gathered all the MLAs in a resort. Probably this was the first case of ‘baade bandi', which is now common in politics. Shekhawat's government was saved.

The Great Odisha Conspiracy

Pyarimohan Mohapatra, a 1963 batch , was the principal and a close confidant to Naveen's father Biju Patnaik when the latter was the chief minister. In 1998, Mohapatra retired but got attached to Navin Patnaik when he became CM in 2000. Mohapatra was critical to the success of Naveen Patnaik's initial years as chief minister as Patnaik was a political novice.

By the time 2012, Mohapatra was made Rajya Sabha member and CM Naveen was also no longer a greenhorn. Differences between them started appearing. In May 2012, when Naveen went to UK on his first maiden trip after becoming CM, Mohapatra hatched a conspiracy to topple his government with the help of Congress. But the plan foiled as he was able to gather only 33 MLAs out of 104 legislators.

On information of a possible coup, Patnaik immediately cut short his trip and flown back to Bhubaneswar. And Mohapatra, who was once called ‘Chanakya' of Odisha politics, lost in the oblivion.

Ramkumar Kaushik
Ramkumar Kaushikhttps://www.thebuckstopper.com/
Ram Kumar Kaushik is a seasoned journalist with over 25 years of experience across mediums. The architect of this news website, he is also a consultant with several media groups. He was formerly the group managing editor of ITV Network (NewsX, India News and The Sunday Guardian) and its digital products.
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