‘Pandian is not my successor’, Naveen Patnaik said- people of Odisha will decide on this

Days after the Odisha Assembly election results were announced, outgoing state Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday said Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader VK Pandian is not his “successor” and pointed out that the people of the state will decide on it. Pandian, a 2000 batch IAS officer, has served as Patnaik’s private secretary for over two decades. He joined the BJD after taking voluntary retirement from bureaucracy in 2023.

Speaking to reporters in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, Patnaik said, “I would like to say that Pandian has also worked and helped in our programme of health, education, sports and temple renovation. Pandian joined the party but he does not hold any post. I have always said clearly that when they asked me about my successor, I clearly said that he was not Pandian. I repeat it. The people of Odisha will decide my successor.”

The Biju Janata Dal suffered a defeat at the hands of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Odisha Assembly elections, bringing an end to Naveen Patnaik’s 24-year-old reign. Patnaik further expressed his gratitude to the people of Odisha, saying, “My deep gratitude to the people of Odisha for blessing me, for giving me blessings again and again. Also, I think we have always tried to do an excellent job and there is a lot to be proud of in our government and our party.”

On the BJD’s defeat in Odisha, he said, “It is in the hands of the people. In a democracy, you either win or lose. After losing after a long time, we should always take the people’s decision gracefully. I have always said that the 4.5 crore people of Odisha are my family and I will continue to serve them in every possible way.” It has also come to my notice that there has been some criticism of Pandian. This is unfortunate. As an officer, he did a great job. He did excellent work in helping our state deal with two cyclones and the COVID-19 pandemic. Later, he retired from bureaucracy and joined my party and contributed greatly to it by doing excellent work. He is a man of integrity and honesty and he should be respected for that.’

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