Pandian Not My Successor

Pandian Not My Successor, Let Odisha People Decide: Naveen

Pandian Not My Successor

Days after the results of the Odisha assembly polls, state outgoing Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday said that Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader VK Pandian is not his “successor” and pointed out that the people of the state would decide on this.

Pandian, an IAS officer of the 2000 batch, has served as private secretary to Patnaik for over two decades. In 2023, he joined the BJD after taking voluntary retirement from the bureaucracy.

In a conversation with reporters in Odisha’s Bhubaneshwar, Patnaik said, “I would like to say that Mr Pandian has also worked and helped in health, education, sports, and our programme of temple restoration. Mr Pandian joined the party but has not had any posts. I have always clearly said that when they asked me about my successor, I said clearly that it was not Mr. Pandian. I repeat it. The people of Odisha will decide my successor.”

The Biju Janata Dal suffered a defeat in the Odisha assembly polls at the hands of the Bharatiya Janata Party, putting an end to the 24-year-old reign of Naveen Patnaik.

Patnaik further expressed gratitude towards the people of Odisha, stating, “My deep gratitude to the people of Odisha, for blessing me time and again, showering me with their blessings. Also, I think that we have always tried to do an excellent job and we have much to be proud of in our government and our party.”

On BJD’s debacle in Odisha, he stated, “That is in the people’s hands. In a democracy, you either win or lose. Having been defeated after a long time, we must always take the verdict of the people gracefully. I have always said that the four and a half crore people of Odisha are my family and I will continue to serve them in whichever way I can.”

“It has also come to my attention that there has been some criticism of Mr. Pandian. This is unfortunate. As an officer, he did excellent work. He did an excellent job helping with the two cyclones and the COVID-19 epidemic in our state. Later, he retired from bureaucracy and joined my party and he has contributed largely to that by doing excellent work. He is a person of integrity and honesty and he should be respected for that,” he added.

After a massive defeat in the State Assembly and Parliamentary elections, the 24-year-old tenure of Odisha CM and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik concluded as he submitted his resignation to Odisha Governor Raghubar Das at the Raj Bhavan in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.

The Biju Janata Dala, which has ruled Odisha since 1997, lost to the BJP, breaking the 24-year-old reign of Naveen Patnaik as the Chief Minister.

The Bharatiya Janata Party secured 78 seats in the 147-seat assembly. The BJD secured 51 seats, way behind the majority mark of 74 and the Indian National Congress secured 14 seats.

In the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, also BJP performed well by securing 20 out of the 21 parliamentary seats in the state; the remaining one seat was won by Congress. (ANI)

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