Ali Kishore Patnaik

Comrade Ali Kishore Patnaik, CPI(M) candidate for Berhampur Lok Sabha constituency in 2014 general elections, is among the finest political leaders of Odisha. Inspired by ideals of equality and justice, he has been consistently struggling for more than four decades to uphold the rights of marginalised sections of society. Ali Patnaik, with a natural flair for leadership, had become a well known student leader of Berhampur and Odisha in the early 70s. He was elected successively as Secretary and President of Khallikote College Students’ Union. He served as President of SFI Odisha unit. Com. Patnaik spearheaded youth mobilisations against the imposition of national emergency in 1975 and was arrested under the draconian provisions of MISA for 19 months, the entire period of emergency. He was released in 1977 only after the announcement of post emergency general elections. A member of the CPI (M) since 1972, he has consistently fought for people’s issues in Ganjam district and Berhampur city. In 1992-93 he led a mass movement for the third drinking water project for Berhampur and could motivate over 20,000 people to send posts cards to government seeking permanent solution to water scarcity. Com. Ali Patnaik led the CPI(M) struggle against providing Rushikulya water to the proposed TISCO project in Gopalpur forcing the government to scrap it. Committed to the cause of the poor peasantry, the landless and dalits, he played a critical role in their struggles to gain land rights in cashew plantations and urban areas. He played an important role in the struggle against privatisation of power sector in Odisha and till date continues to fight against its vagaries. A social activist and staunch leftist in mind and heart, Com. Patnaik is involved with several trade unions and social organisations. His efforts through People’s Trust to keep alive memory of Sahid Laxman Nayak -- a tribal hero of southern Odisha, who was the only freedom fighter to be hanged till death during freedom movement in Odisha – are noteworthy. Politics has not overshadowed his multifarious talents. He is professionally trained in journalism which has sharpened his knack to identify problems faced by common masses. He is a regular writer of articles on socio-political issues. He is also a theatre activist promoting traditional folk forms and creatively using them to highlight contemporary socio-economic issues. His well researched book on the dark side of privatisation of power sector continues to be a much referred document. Adopting the method to reach out to common masses he undertook a 20 days long ‘padyatra’ in Ganjam district in January 2013 covering a distance of 322 kilometres to create awareness regarding alternative economic policies, land rights for the landless, enhancement of minimum wages by government, employment and food security for all. At the time of emergencies like natural calamities, he has always reached out to the aggrieved people with relief and support.

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