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‘Not my successor’: Naveen Patnaik clarifies VK Pandian’s role in BJD | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: In the aftermath of the Odisha assembly polls, outgoing chief minister Naveen Patnaik addressed the speculation surrounding BJD leader VK Pandian’s role in the party. Patnaik clarified that Pandian, a former IAS officer who served as his private secretary for over two decades before joining the BJD in 2023, is not his “successor.” He emphasized that the people of Odisha would ultimately decide on this matter.Patnaik acknowledged Pandian’s contributions to various sectors, including health, education, sports, and the temple restoration program. However, he reiterated that Pandian has not held any posts within the party and firmly stated, “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’s defeat in the Odisha assembly polls marked the end of Naveen Patnaik’s 24-year reign as chief minister. Patnaik expressed his gratitude to the people of Odisha for their unwavering support, 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.”Patnaik also addressed the criticism directed towards VK Pandian, deeming it unfortunate. “It has also come to my attention that there has been some criticism of 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.Following the BJD’s massive defeat in the State Assembly and Parliamentary elections, Naveen Patnaik submitted his resignation to Odisha governor Raghubar Das at the Raj Bhavan in Bhubaneswar. The BJP secured a majority with 78 seats in the 147-seat assembly, while the BJD secured 51 seats and the Indian National Congress won 14 seats. In the 2024 Lok Sabha polls also BJP performed well, securing 20 out of the 21 parliamentary seats in the state, with Congress winning the remaining seat.


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