Naveen Patnaik’s close aide VK Pandian retires from active politics | India News

NEW DELHI: Former Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik‘s confidant VK Pandian on Sunday announced his retirement from active politics.
Pandian announcement comes days after Biju Janata Dal (BJP) faced massive setback in Odisha assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
The development also follows Patnaik’s statement claiming that Pandian was not his “successor” and that the people of the state would decide on this.
Pandian, an IAS officer of the 2000 batch, has served as private secretary to Patnaik for over two decades. In 2023, he joined the BJD after taking voluntary retirement from the bureaucracy.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) brought to an end the BJD’s unbroken 24-year stint led by CM Naveen Patnaik, 77.
Riding on anti-incumbency factor against Naveen, BJP — which had shared power with him as a junior coalition partner in Odisha from 2000 to 2009 — diligently crafted its campaign strategy for a double engine govt, blending emotive issues like Odia asmita (pride), people’s aspirations and the decisive leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
BJP has bagged 78 seats, BJD 51, Congress 14 and CPM one, with three Independents completing the tally in the 147-seat assembly. Naveen himself lost one of the two seats, Kantabanji, but managed to win Hinjili making it his sixth straight win.
In the Odisha Lok Sabha polls, the BJP achieved a historic victory, securing an unprecedented 20 out of 21 seats, a significant improvement from their previous tally of eight seats in 2019.
The BJD failed to win a single seat, with all 21 of their candidates losing, compared to their tally of 12 in 2019. The Congress party managed to retain Koraput, the only seat that didn’t go to the BJP.
The results have pushed BJD, which has dominated Odisha’s political landscape for nearly 25 years under Naveen, to an existential crisis. Since he joined politics following his father Biju Patnaik’s demise in 1997, Naveen has always been in the hot seat, first as Union minister from 1998 to 1999 and then as CM.
(With inputs from Debabrata)


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