Naveen Patnaik: A shrewd politician | india | Hindustan Times
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Naveen Patnaik: A shrewd politician

india Updated: Mar 11, 2009 14:16 IST
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Once dismissed by critics as a novice, Orissa Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only shown shrewdness and ruthlessness in dealing with political opponents but also the imagination of the people with his "clean image".

The 62-year-old leader, whose government won the trust vote in state Assembly today, was roped in by the heavyweights of then Janata Dal in 1997 to take over the mantle of his legendary father Biju Patnaik and extend his legacy.

When Naveen was elected to the 11th Lok Sabha on a Janata Dal(S) ticket in the by-election from Aska constituency, left vacate due to his father's death, few realised that this man of few words has a long future ahead in the state's politics.

Despite limited knowledge of Oriya, the writer-turned politician not only gained popularity, but effectively sidelined potential threats within the party and marginalised the opposition, including the Congress.

Soon after Biju Patnaik's death, a large section of the JD(S) split the party to launch a regional outfit, the Biju Janata Dal, on December 26, 1997 and asked Naveen to head the fledgling outfit.

The party was formed with the intention to tie-up with the BJP, which was growing at the time, to contest the upcoming elections.