Naveen Patnaik's aide VK Pandian quits politics after Odisha election drubbing: ‘I am sorry if…’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Naveen Patnaik's aide VK Pandian quits politics after Odisha election drubbing: ‘I am sorry if…’

Jun 09, 2024 04:07 PM IST

BJD leader VK Pandian, a close aide of former CM Naveen Patnaik, announced retirement from active politics following party's defeat in Odisha elections.

Former Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik's close aide VK Pandian on Sunday announced retirement from active politics after the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) suffered an embarrassing defeat in both Lok Sabha and assembly elections.

BJD chief Naveen Patnaik and his close aide VK Pandian. (File)
BJD chief Naveen Patnaik and his close aide VK Pandian. (File)

“My intent of joining politics was only to assist Naveen babu and now consciously I decide to withdraw myself from active politics,” Pandian, a former bureaucrat, said in a video message.

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“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 in BJD's loss. I apologise to the entire Biju Parivar, including all the party workers for this,” he added.

BJD was not only reduced to single Lok Sabha seat in the parliamentary elections, but also lost the assembly polls, ending Naveen Patnaik's 24-years rule in Odisha.

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Pandian, who was seen as a potential successor of Naveen Patnaik, drew strong criticism after the BJD's shocking defeat in the just-concluded elections. Patnaik, however, reiterated Saturday that Pandian was not his successor and that the people of Odisha would decide who his successor would be.

Patnaik also said criticism of Pandian for the party's debacle was "unfortunate" and asserted that he did an "excellent job".

"He (Pandian) is a person of integrity and honesty and should be remembered for that," Patnaik said amid widespread resentment among the party leaders and workers.

“There has been some criticism of Pandian. This is unfortunate. He joined the party and has not held any post. He did not contest the elections from any constituency. I have always clearly said when asked about my successor that it is not Pandian. I repeat that the people of Odisha will decide my successor,” the former CM told PTI.

"As an officer, he (Pandian) did an excellent job in different fields in the last 10 years, be it during two cyclones or the COVID-19 pandemic. After this good work, he retired from the bureaucracy and joined the BJD. And contributed largely by doing excellent work. He is a person of integrity and honesty and should be remembered for that," Patnaik said.

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