Nabin Odisha & 5T Chairman V K Pandian Joins BJD

Bhubaneswar: Ending days of speculation, Nabin Odisha & 5T Chairman V K Pandian joined Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the presence of party president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and several senior leaders here on Monday.

Announcing Pandian’s formal entry to BJD, Puri MP Pinaki Mishra said, “VK Pandian joined the BJD with the blessings of party chief Naveen Patnaik, who exuded confidence that he would bring success to the party just as he did for the administration. We all senior leaders are happy with his joining. The party will immensely benefit from his administrative and political experience.”

With Naveen preparing to seek votes for a sixth term, Pandian is likely to be given a prominent role in the party. “He joined the party today. His role will be announced soon,” Pinaki added.

This followed a party meeting at Naveen Niwas, the CM residence, which was attended by senior BJD leaders, including Pinaki, Ranendra Pratap Swain, Prasanna Acharya, Pranab Prakash Das, Pratap Deb, Snehangini Chhuriya, Sanjay Das Burma, Samir Das, and Pranab Balbantray. There were ripples in the BJD camp when several senior leaders received telephone calls from the party office for the meeting on Sunday, leading to speculation that Naveen’s trusted aide and former private secretary Pandian might formally join the BJD on the auspicious occasion of Kartika Purnima.

Also Read: V K Pandian VRS: Cong Attacks, BJP Guarded, BJD Mum

The 2000-bath IAS officer, who was the CM’s private secretary since 2011, was appointed to a cabinet-rank position after exiting the civil services last month. His VRS was cleared by the Centre on October 23, fuelling speculation for his full-time plunge into state politics.

Also Read: V K Pandian: Can He Make The Big Transition?

Pandian has been very powerful in the Naveen Patnaik dispensation especially since 2019 when he was made Secretary to Chief Minister (Transformation and Initiatives), popularly called 5T Secretary, and the fact that the Odisha and the central governments okayed his VRS application within two working days, waived the notice period and the state General Administration department notified his appointment as ‘Chairman of 5T (Transformational Initiatives) and Nabin Odisha’ with Cabinet rank within hours of his retirement spoke volumes about his plans and influence.

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