Naveen Patnaik triggers succession talks on BJD’s 23rd anniversary
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has fuelled speculations of a succession plan by saying the 23-year old Biju Janata Dal is not dependent on him or some other leaders for its survival and growth.
Patnaik’s statement to partymen celebrating BJD’s 23rd Foundation Day has led to speculation on who would be Naveen’s successor.
Party leaders, however, says there is no discussion on the successor as the CM is doing well.
Patnaik was elected Odisha’s chief minister for a record 5th consecutive term only 7-months ago but his Thursday reflection is widely being interpreted as preparing the party for a future without him at the helm.
“Biju Babu used to say that do not be loyal to me but be loyal to the cause of Odisha’s destiny. True to his words, BJD has now become a people’s movement,” said Patnaik
Before the assembly polls in April, Patnaik had told a magazine that he had not picked a successor yet but it would be someone from the BJD.
“The people will choose a successor,” he had said.
Some partymen believe it is only a matter of time before someone is named the successor but analysts feel Patnaik making way will not augur well for the BJD.
“Biju Janata Dal is not the same as it was 23 years ago. The party has almost no political element left and all decisions are top down. He may name anyone a successor, but the moment he is out, the party will disintegrate,” said political analyst Rabi Das.
Political science professor Prabhat Mohanty said BJD’s dream run would come to an end when the chief minister hangs his boots.
“People have been voting for Naveen Patnaik only. It’s not necessary that they also root for his successor. It is unlikely that any of his partymen will obey his successor,” said Mohanty.