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Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s close aide V. Karthikeyan Pandian joins Biju Janata Dal

Choosing Kartika Purnima as joining date, itself assumes significance as the day is considered the most auspicious day in the Hindu almanac

Subhashish Mohanty Bhubaneswar Published 28.11.23, 05:36 AM
Naveen Patnaik and VK Pandian (third from right in a white shirt) on Monday

Naveen Patnaik and VK Pandian (third from right in a white shirt) on Monday Sourced by the Telegraph

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s close aide V. Karthikeyan Pandian joined the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Monday, on Kartika Purnima.

Kartika Purnima is considered the most auspicious day in the Hindu almanac.


With this, a signal has been sent to the rank and file of the BJD that Naveen’s trusted lieutenant Pandian will take a call on the party affairs with more vigor and is going to play a key role in the distribution of tickets during the upcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. Besides, talks started gaining momentum that Pandian would be the successor to Naveen if the BJD came to power.

Pandian,49, joined the BJD at Naveen Nivas in the presence of party president Naveen and all other senior leaders.

Welcoming Pandian to the party, Naveen said: “I welcome Pandian to the BJD. Pandian has been working hard for the people of Odisha and has earned the respect and trust of people and he will continue to do so in the future as a member of the party.”

After joining the party, Pandian said: “With the blessings of Mahaparabhu Jagannath and under the guidance of the chief minister, and with co-operation from party leaders, I will work selflessly for the people of the state with sincerity, dedication and a humble manner.”

BJD MP Pinaki Mishra said: “VK Pandian joined the BJD. The chief minister exuded confidence that he would bring success to the party as he did for the administration. The party will immensely benefit from his rich experience in the field of administration.”

The 2000-batch IAS officer earned the goodwill of Naveen after he consistently and sincerely performed his duty as private secretary for one decade, without giving much botheration to Naveen. He joined as Naveen's private secretary in 2011.

Later, he was made secretary to the chief minister (Transformation and Initiatives), popularly known as 5 T. Under the 5 T initiatives, all major decisions of different departments were routed through the department and Pandian emerged as the “most powerful”. Later, he resigned from the job on October 23.

Within 24 hours of the retirement, the Naveen government appointed Pandian as chairman 5T (Transformational Initiatives), a governance initiative launched by the government and Nabin Odisha, a rural development scheme.

With the 2024 elections barely six months away, most people consider that Pandian, who directly reports to the chief minister, enjoys unbridled powers, controlling both the ruling BJD and the government.

Although Pandian continued to play behind the curtain over the years and keep a tab on the affairs of the party, he was the target of the Opposition.

After donning the new role, Pandian continued to meet members of different organisations, starting from teachers to police officers and journalists. His intention was that all should accept him and appreciate his developmental work for the state, said sources.

Although Pandian is popular for his pro-people approach, there is a section of people who still oppose him as he belongs to Tamil Nadu. Although Pandian started his career in Punjab, he shifted to Odisha after he married Odia IAS officer Sujata Sahu.

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