BJP’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra, a popular face on TV channels, has now been appointed as non-official director on the board of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Ltd, reported PTI.
An order issued by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said that the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet had approved Patra’s appointment to the post for a period of three years.
This is not the first time the saffron party has appointed its key functionaries to the boards of central public sector undertakings.
In may this year, the Centre’s BJP government had rewarded its key leaders with plum appointments as independent directors in the so-called navratna PSUs.
Among the beneficiaries were BJP’s Delhi unit’s vice president, Shazia Ilmi, Gujarat IT cell convenor Rajika Kacheria, the party’s minority face in Gujarat, Asifa Khan, former BJP MLA candidate from Odisha Surama Padhy and former Bihar MLC Kiran Ghai Sinha.
Among other appointees were the party’s Karnataka unit secretary Bharathi Magdum (appointed on the STC board), former Rajya Sabha MP, Bharatsinh Prabhatsinh Parmar( appointed on the board of State Trading Corporation), former MLA candidate from Odisha Surama Padhy (will join the BHEL board), BJP’s Andhra Pradesh unit Mahila Morcha head Sarnala Malathi Rani (appointed as an independent director of Export Credit Guarantee Corporation Ltd), Sipra Goon, who contested the 2016 Assam state elections for BJP (selected as independent director of Andrew Yule & Company Ltd) and Shikha Roy, a former BJP candidate from Kasturba Nagar constituency in Delhi, (appointed on board of National Handloom Development Corporation Ltd.)
Patra’s appointment prompted many to question his credential to justify his appointment. Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan asked, “What’s the qualification of Sambit Patra to be appointed as Director of ONGC,except that he is BJP spokesman.Is ONGC BJP’S private property?”
Journalist PranjoyGuha Thakurta sarcastically wrote, “ONGC: BJP’s Sambit Patra Becomes Newest Party Member On PSU Company Board.”
Other social media users to joined in and posted their own thoughts;
When qualifications hardly matters in this regime; be it PM, FM, HRD or Defence; why should we question Sambit Patra's ONGC qualifications?
— Arun Shourie ᶠᵃⁿ (@FeignShourie) September 30, 2017
Whole bunch of BJP spokespersons appointed by Government on boards of public sector companies such as ONGC. https://t.co/lWvwhIuSui
— Puja Mehra (@pujamehra) September 29, 2017
BJP Spokesperson Dr Sambit Patra appointed as the Non official director of ONGC pic.twitter.com/HWLhJ1Mm1S
— Arvind Gunasekar (@arvindgunasekar) September 29, 2017
— surgical striker (@surgicalstrike3) September 29, 2017
— Yunus Lasania (@lasaniayunus) September 30, 2017