Tathagata Satpathy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tathagata Satpathy
ତଥାଗତ ସତପଥୀ
Member: 12th, 14th, 15th and 16th Lok Sabha
In office
1998-1999,2004 – 2019
Preceded byKamakhya Prasad Singh Deo
Succeeded byMahesh Sahoo
Personal details
Born (1956-04-01) 1 April 1956 (age 67)[1]
Cuttack, Odisha, India[1]
Political partyBJD
SpouseAdyasha Satpathy
ChildrenAaryl Che Satpathy- Son, Aavya Nandini Satpathy- Daughter
Residence(s)Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India[1]

Tathagata Satpathy (born 1 April 1956) was a member of the 12th, 14th, 15th and 16th Lok Sabha of India. He represented the Dhenkanal constituency of Odisha, and was re-elected for the fourth time in 2014. He was a member of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) political party, and the party's chief whip in the Lok Sabha. He took voluntary retirement from politics in March 2019. He is not an active politician ever since.

Life and work[edit]

Tathagata Satpathy is the second son of former Odisha Chief Minister Nandini Satpathy and Devendra Satpathy.[1][2] He is the owner and editor of the daily Odia newspaper, Dharitri, and the English daily, Orissa Post.[3][2]

Tathagata educated at St. Columba's School in New Delhi and Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education, Pondicherry, he has studied Philosophy, English and French. He had done his mother language, Oriya, by self study.

Tathagata entered active politics in the mid 70s as a teenager opposing the Emergency clamped by the Indian National Congress (INC).[4].

While both his parents were long time Congress members, Tathagata has been opposed to that political party since before his career in electoral politics began early.

He joined active politics in the late 1980s when Sri Biju Patnaik took him into the Janata Party and he got elected to the Odisha Legislative Assembly and became an MLA in 1990. While his party kept changing its name from Janata Party to Janata Dal and later Biju Janata Dal, but he never changed his party.

He went on to become a Four term Member of Parliament till 2019 by winning the Dhenkanal-Angul Lok Sabha seat in 1998, 2004, 2009 and 2014 general elections.

His nephew Suparno Satpathy had unsuccessfully contested him in 2014 for the office of MP Lok Sabha, Dhenkanal.

In March 2015, Tathagata Satpathy became the first Indian Member of Parliament to hold an official "Ask Me Anything" session on the content-sharing website Reddit.[3] In April, Satpathy came forward in support of net neutrality, after the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) come out with a consultation paper on over-the-top (OTT) messaging services.[5] In December 2015, Satpathy had supported a bill to decriminalise homosexuality. The bill was introduced by INC leader Shashi Tharoor. But, it was defeated with 71 against, 1 abstaining and 24 in favour.[6]

Views and opinions[edit]

On net neutrality[edit]

In March 2014, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released a formal consultation paper on over-the-top (OTT) messaging services and whether telecom operators should be allowed to charge separately for some messaging apps.[7] Soon afterwards, Tathagata Satpathy wrote an open letter to TRAI stating his support for net neutrality. In the letter, he said such a policy would hinder the Digital India project and kill new startups. He said that he used such apps to interact with his constituency and this policy will hinder his functioning as a representative.[8][9]

On legalisation of cannabis[edit]

Tathagata Satpathy has criticised the ban on cannabis in India, while pointing out the long history of its usage as a ritual and recreational intoxicant. He has said that cannabis was banned in India while alcohol was not, because of "an elitist bias" as cannabis was a poor man's drug. He has said the addiction depends on person's character and not on the intoxicant. He has suggested an amendment to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 to allow recreational and medicinal usage of marijuana.[10] During his "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit in March 2015, Satpathy admitted that he smoked cannabis when he was young.[3][11] In August 2015, during the monsoon session of the Parliament, he proposed the decriminalisation of cannabis.[12] In December 2015, he repeated his proposal during the winter session, saying that banning cannabis has forced villagers to turn to alcohol.[13][14]

On homosexuality and moral policing[edit]

Tathagata Satpathy has condemned the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises homosexuality in India, calling it "archaic" and called for its repeal.[15] He had supported a bill introduced by INC MP Shashi Tharoor to decriminalise homosexuality during the 2015 winter session of the Parliament.[16] When the bill was defeated, Satpathy called it a very sad day.[17] Satpathy has also condemned moral policing and called for a repeal of laws banning pornography in India.[15]

On privacy and Aadhaar[edit]

Tathagata Satpathy has raised concerns that the Aadhaar project could be used for mass surveillance or ethnic cleansing in the future. He has questioned why a new identity card project was created despite having several identity cards systems. He has also criticised the decision to present the Aadhaar Bill, 2016 as a money bill. He pointed out that although the bill allows the sharing of biometric under circumstances of national security, there was no concrete definition of national security included in the bill.[18]

On religious laws and missionaries[edit]

Satpathy supports the implementation of a Uniform Civil Code in India. He has criticised those current laws which are based on various religions, saying that the world is moving beyond religious scriptures and such laws only divide the society.[15] He has also said that a lot of faith-based foreign aid comes to Odisha through missionaries. They offer the poor Dalits free education and jobs, this results in mass conversions to Christianity.[19] Satpathy has said that politicians should use the dictionary definition of secularism to avoid confusion.[20]

Other opinions[edit]

Satpathy has supported the inclusion of Members of Parliament under the Jan Lokpal Bill to curb corruption.[21] In December 2015, he criticised the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2015 during a debate, saying that the government was favouring big corporations with such laws.[22] He has also criticised the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana calling it flawed and that it looks good only on paper. He said it forces him to choose only 8 villages from his constituency for development out of 3000.[23] Satpathy has opposed the proposal to make Hindi the national language.[20]

Satpathy has criticised the construction of new nuclear power plants in India, claiming that most of the world was now moving away from nuclear energy. He has also claimed that Areva nuclear firm of France sold outdated technology to Maharashtra. He has also said that the centre should release the data regarding the safety of nuclear power plants as they are in other countries.[24][25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Tathagata Satpathy". Lok Sabha. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Ex-CM of Orissa Nandini Satpathy passes away". The Times of India. 5 August 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Tathagata Satpathy, MP who accepted the internet challenge and won". Hindustan Times. 16 March 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  4. ^ "That's What Friends Are For". The Telegraph (India). 31 March 2004. Archived from the original on 24 June 2004. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Odisha MP earns internet points by writing a letter to the TRAI Chairman in support of Net Neutrality". IBNLive. Archived from the original on 10 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Private member bill on homosexuality defeated in LS". Business Standard. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  7. ^ Singh, Saurabh (8 April 2015). "Politicos slam TRAI's stance on net neutrality". India Today. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  8. ^ "'TRAI's Internet Consultation threat to my functioning as representative'- Odisha MP". The Economic Times. 8 April 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Net Neutrality: Airtel's new apps plan may go against PM Modi's Digital India vision". The Economic Times. 9 April 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Cannabis ban is elitist. It should go: Tathagata Satpathy". The Times of India. 29 March 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Not your typical MP: BJD's Tathagata Satpathy is internet's new favourite". The Times of India. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  12. ^ "When some MPs choose to go by their heart". The Hindu. 24 August 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  13. ^ "BJD's Sathpathy asks parliament to legalise marijuana use to reduce alcohol". DNA India. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Make cannabis consumption legal; ban is turning people alcoholic: BJD chief whip Tathagata Satpathy". The Indian Express. 11 December 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  15. ^ a b c "'Junk outdated laws like ban on porn, homosexuality'". The Times of India. 7 August 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  16. ^ "Tharoor's Bill on homosexuality voted out". The Hindu. 19 December 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  17. ^ "Tharoor's bill on homosexuality voted out by LS". Business Standard. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  18. ^ "Opposition Alleges Aadhaar Data Could Be Used For Mass Surveillance". NDTV. 11 March 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  19. ^ "Christians of India under attack". GlobalPost. 30 May 2010. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  20. ^ a b "Nirapeksh row? Eat crow, stick to 'secular'". The Telegraph (India). 27 November 2015. Archived from the original on 30 November 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  21. ^ "MPs too should be made accountable: Tathagata Satpathy, A member of Parliament, representing Biju Janata Dal". The Economic Times. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  22. ^ "BJD member Tathagata Satpathy accuses government of favouring mega corporates". The Economic Times. 17 December 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  23. ^ "Poke Me: Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana a well-intentioned but impractical scheme". The Economic Times. 8 July 2015. Retrieved 29 December 2015.
  24. ^ "LS passes bill to allow NPCIL to have tie-ups with other PSUs". Business Standard. 14 December 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  25. ^ "LS MPs question nuclear plant safety". Business Standard. 14 December 2015. Retrieved 10 January 2016.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]