June 20, 2024 08:54 (IST)
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Naveen Patnaik aide VK Pandian quits active politics after BJD loss, says 'I am sorry..'
VKPandian
Photo courtesy: File image from Facebook/Naveen Patnaik

Naveen Patnaik aide VK Pandian quits active politics after BJD loss, says 'I am sorry..'

| @indiablooms | 09 Jun 2024, 04:54 pm

Bhubaneswar/IBNS: VK Pandian, the close aide of Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and a bureaucrat turned politician, on Sunday said he is quitting active politics after the Biju Janata Dal’s loss in the Assembly elections paving the way for a BJP government in the state.

Pandian made the announcement on the heels of BJP's massive victory in Odisha that saw the humiliating defeat of the BJD, which ruled the state for over two decades under Naveen Patnaik.

Apologising to the BJD workers, the former IAS officer in a video message said as quoted in media, “My intent of joining politics was only and only to assist Naveen Babu, and now I consciously decided to withdraw myself from active politics. I am sorry if I have hurt anyone on this journey. I am sorry if this campaign narrative against me has had a part to play in BJD’s loss.”

The Tamil origin of Pandian was a poll issue by the BJP which ended the long rule of Naveen Patnaik in Odisha.

Outgoing Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, in his first reaction after losing the Odisha assembly polls, on Saturday defended 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.

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 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).

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

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