Odisha CM's close aide Pandian climbs to cabinet rank after voluntary retirement | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Odisha CM's close aide VK Pandian climbs to cabinet minister rank after voluntary retirement

Oct 24, 2023 09:47 AM IST

Former IAS officer VK Pandian appointed as chairman of 5T and 'Nabin Odisha' under Naveen Patnaik-led government

Former IAS officer VK Pandian has been appointed as chairman of 5T (Transformational Initiative) and ‘Nabin Odisha’ in the rank of cabinet minister under the Naveen Patnaik-led government, according to a government order.

VK Pandian (left) and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik.(Instagram)
VK Pandian (left) and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik.(Instagram)

The state's General Administration Department in an order stated, “Shri V K Pandian is hereby appointed as Chairman 5T (Transformational Initiatives) and Nabin Odisha in the rank of Cabinet Minister. Shri Pandian shall work directly under the Chief Minister.”

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Pandian, who was the private secretary of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, took voluntary retirement from government service.

In a letter to the state's General Administration Department, the Centre's Department of Personnel and Training said his voluntary retirement has been accepted "with the waiver of the notice period as recommended by the State Government".

Pandian's rose to prominence as the close aide of the chief minister has often landed him in controversies, with opposition parties alleging that he was misusing his position for political gains.

He was a 2000-batch IAS officer of the Odisha cadre.

The opposition BJP and Congress had asked him to resign and “officially join the BJD” after he went on a whirlwind tour across the state during which he held 190 meetings to hear public grievances.

Congress MP Saptagiri Ulaka said that he would not be surprised if Pandian took charge as the chief minister of Odisha before the next elections.

"...such is the power structure in Odisha, no one has clue what's happening but everyone knows who's controlling. VRS approved in 3 days during holidays - Super Fast," he said in a post on X.

Taking a swipe at Pandian, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh posted, “He has been a fine civil servant and helped Naveen Patnaik enormously. But it is good that a de facto situation will finally become a de jure one, and Pandian will become a political figure in his own right. It was a strange situation in Odisha for over a decade and a half with the CM being like an absentee landlord and his chief aide functioning as the state's CEO.”

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    Kunal Gaurav is a multimedia journalist with Hindustan Times, New Delhi. He handles daily editorial operations for the digital news desk, including news tracking, news prioritisation, writing and editing.

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