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'Not my successor': Outgoing Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik clarifies VK Pandian's role in BJD
Naveen Patnaik
Photo courtesy: File image from Facebook/Naveen Patnaik

'Not my successor': Outgoing Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik clarifies VK Pandian's role in BJD

| @indiablooms | 08 Jun 2024, 09:18 pm

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi/IBNS: Outgoing Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, in his first reaction after losing the Odisha assembly polls, on Saturday defended his close aide VK Pandian, saying that the bureaucrat-turned-politician was not his successor in the Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

Stating that the criticism of VK Pandian, now a member of the BJD, was "unfortunate", Naveen Patnaik, who missed out on what would have been his sixth consecutive term in office, said that the people of Odisha would decide his successor in BJD.

“Pandian joined the party and has not held any post. He did not contest the elections. As an officer, he did an excellent job in different fields in the last 10 years, be it during two cyclones or the Covid-19 pandemic," the BJD president told news agency PTI.

"He [Pandian] retired from the bureaucracy, and joined the BJD and contributed largely by doing excellent work. He is a person of integrity and honesty and should be remembered for that,” the veteran leader said," the veteran leader added.

This statement comes from the outgoing CM of Odisha after a section of BJD leaders and workers expressed resentment against the ex-bureaucrat Pandian, who is from Tamil Nadu.

During election campaigning, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had repeatedly claimed that the-then chief minister was trying to “impose” a non-Odia on the people of the coastal state.

In the recently concluded assembly election in Odisha, the BJP won 78 seats in the 147-member Odisha assembly, while the BJD, which had been in power since 2000, won 51 seats.

Bagging just 14 seats, the Congress came third.

BJP supremo Naveen Patnaik, who contested on two seats, was victorious from one (Hinjili AC) but lost the other (Kantabanji AC), according to the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Meanwhile, in the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP secured 20 of Odisha's 21 parliamentary constituencies, and the BJD won only one.

ECI held simultaneous polls (Lok Sabha and state assembly elections) in four states -- Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, and Sikkim.

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