After BJDs defeat in polls, Naveen Patnaiks aide VK Pandian quits politics
VK Pandian, a former civil servant, who had become a key figure in the Patnaik administration, is being targeted for BJD’s poor showing in the elections. File photo

After BJD's defeat in polls, Naveen Patnaik's aide VK Pandian quits politics

Pandian released a video message stating that he had been only helping his mentor Naveen Patnaik before the elections and he had no desire for a political post or power

In a significant development, after the shocking rout of BJD in the Lok Sabha and assembly polls, former IAS officer and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik's key aide VK Pandian has announced that he is quitting active politics.

In a video message, the bureaucrat-turned-politician said, "Now 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 had a part to play the Biju Janata Dal’s loss. My apologies to the entire Biju Parivaar including all the ‘karmis’ for this."

Further, he said, "I will always keep Odisha in core of my heart and my Guru Naveen Babu in my breath."

This comes after the Patnaik's 24-year rule came to an end with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) storming to power by securing 78 seats in the 147-member assembly. The BJD, which was the most dominant party in the state, managed to secure only 51 seats, while the Congress took 14 seats, and three went to Independent candidates.

In the Lok Sabha polls too, the BJD suffered a rout with the BJP winning 20 and the Congress emerging victorious in 1 out of 21 seats in the state.

No desire for power

In his video, he stated that he hailed from a humble family and a small village, and his childhood dream had been to join the IAS and serve the people.

"(From) the day I set foot in the soil of Odisha, I have received immense love and affection from the people of Odisha," he said, adding that he has tried to work very hard for the people across the state. Further, praising his mentor Patnaik, he said that the experience and learning he got from him is for a 'lifetime'.

"His grace, leadership, ethics and above all, the love for the people of Odisha always inspired me. His expectation from me was to implement his vision for Odisha and we successfully crossed many milestones in health, education, poverty reduction, ports, investment, women empowerment, infrastructure and also in temple and heritage projects," said Pandian.

Pandian claimed that his only intent was to help Patnaik, as anyone would do for his mentor and family.

"I would like to set straight certain perceptions and narratives. Perhaps, it has been my shortcoming that I have not been able to effectively counter some of these political narratives at the last time. I reiterate that I came to politics to help my mentor Naveen Patnaik ahead of the gruelling elections and I had no desire, whatsoever, for a specific political post or power. That's why I was neither a candidate, nor was I holding any post in Biju Janata Dal," he said.

Outsider tag

VK Pandian, a former civil servant, who had become a key figure in the Patnaik administration, is being targeted for BJD’s poor showing in the elections. The BJP pushed his "outsider" status in their campaigns which helped to defeat the BJD in the Assembly election results, said media reports.

Earlier, outgoing Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had defended his close aide, VK Pandian, against mounting criticism. "There has been some criticism of Mr Pandian. This is unfortunate," Patnaik said. He scotched any rumours about Pandian's political ambitions and the possibility of him becoming his successor.

Praising Pandian for helping in health, education, sports, and our programme of temple restoration, Patnaik said that he had mde it clear that Pandian is not his successor. “The people of Odisha will decide my successor," Patnaik had declared.

The 'multifaceted role' Pandian played in the state's development does not equate to a bid for succession, he had told reporters in Bhubaneswar.

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