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Naveen Patnaik's close aide Pandian quits politics after BJD's defeat

VK Pandian announced his withdrawal from politics following Biju Janata Dal's (BJD) defeat in the Odisha state Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in 2024

VK Pandian, Pandian

Bhubaneswar: BJD leader VK Pandian at an interview with PTI, in Bhubaneswar, Monday, May 20, 2024. (Photo: PTI)

Vasudha Mukherjee New Delhi

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VK Pandian, a close aide of outgoing Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, announced his withdrawal from active politics after the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) faced a significant defeat in the recent Odisha elections. In a video message, Pandian apologised to the "Biju Parivaar" if his actions had contributed to the party's loss.

Pandian quits politics

Pandian, who joined the BJD ahead of the assembly polls, expressed his regret and responsibility for the party's defeat. "I consciously decide to withdraw myself from active politics. I am sorry if I have hurt anyone in this journey. I am sorry if this campaign narrative against me has played a part in the Biju Janata Dal's loss. My apologies to the entire Biju Parivaar including all the 'karmis' for this," he stated. He emphasised that his sole intention in joining politics was to assist Patnaik and clarified that he did not desire a political post or power.

2024 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections

The BJP emerged victorious in Odisha, ending the BJD's 24-year rule by winning 78 seats in the 147-member assembly. The BJD secured 51 seats, while the Congress won 14 and the CPI (M) one. In the Lok Sabha elections, the BJD failed to secure any seats, with the BJP winning 20 and the Congress one.

Despite the defeat, Patnaik praised Pandian's integrity and contributions. "This is unfortunate. He did an excellent job. He is a person of integrity and honesty," Patnaik remarked. Pandian reiterated his dedication to Patnaik, expressing his honour in working under his leadership and implementing his vision for Odisha.

Naveen Patnaik's resignation

The 2024 Assembly election results marked the end of an era for Odisha, with Patnaik tendering his resignation to the state governor, Raghubar Das. Patnaik's leadership, spanning over 24 years, made him one of India's most influential regional leaders. Reflecting on his tenure, Patnaik stated, "I have always 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."

Pandian's political journey

Pandian, a bureaucrat-turned-politician from Tamil Nadu, joined the BJD in 2023 after taking voluntary retirement from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). He served as Patnaik's private secretary for over two decades, contributing to various sectors, including health, education, poverty reduction, investment, and women empowerment.

"Twelve years ago, I joined the Chief Minister's office. It was an honour to be working for Naveen Patnaik. The experience and learnings I had are for a lifetime," he said.


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First Published: Jun 09 2024 | 5:17 PM IST

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