V K Pandian not my successor, it will be decided by people, says Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik

BJD supremo does not rule out the option of extending support to NDA in post-poll scenario

V K Pandian not my successor, it will be decided by people, says Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik

Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik (Photo: Twitter)

With BJP firing all cylinders raking up Odia pride plank to dethrone him for grooming Tamil Nadu-born VK Pandian as his successor, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday said his trusted lieutenant would not be his successor.

“He is not my successor. I can’t understand these exaggerations. He is not standing for this election. I see all of these as exaggerations and falsehood,” 5-time Chief Minister Patnaik told a news agency.

“I have said the people of the state will decide the succession. That is the natural result of these things,” Patnaik emphasised as he has often maintained his stand on the succession plan.


Refuting the allegation that Pandian is being placed above other BJD leaders, Naveen said, “I find all of this quite nonsensical.”

On the other hand, amid an acrimonious verbal duel between BJD-BJP, he said: “I have never shown acrimony to anyone in public life. When support is required, we will judge our appropriate position.”

Patnaik’s remark regarding whether the BJP and BJD’s election campaigning has shut the door for extending support to the NDA in the post-poll scenario assumes political significance. Patnaik, a man of few words, ruled out the possibility of extending support to the NDA in post-poll scenario.

It is the BJP which had trained guns at the regional party satrap with the saffron party raking up Patnaik’s deteriorating health, his inability to take independent decisions and outsourcing the government and the party to Pandian. With former bureaucrat Pandian, being a Tamil and outsider, BJP and its top leaders, including PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, have launched blistering attacks on Pandian for holding the veteran politician captive and hijacking the government during the poll campaign. Sensing the fact that Patnaik, who is ensconced in the seat of Chief Minister for 24 years, is still revered and adored by voters of Odisha, BJP strategised its plank reserving the diatribe at Pandian by raising Odia ‘ashmita’ issue while largely sparing Patnaik from the rhetoric onslaught.

Hinting at a dip in the popularity base of the BJP, he told the agency that “they are getting more and more desperate, particularly as their popularity is waning in the country.”

He dismissed the allegation levelled by the Opposition that Pandian was acting as a gatekeeper and taking all decisions on his behalf, saying “That is ridiculous. I have said this often before this is an old allegation. It holds no weight.”

Patnaik said that he is not dependent on others, “He has all the powers to decide about decisions made by his party to the people before elections. I have always chaired cabinet meetings. There is not a single cabinet meeting that I have not chaired.”

Patnaik exuded confidence and predicted his party’s impressive show in the twin polls.

“I see very handsome results in the state elections. We will form a solid government again in the state, and in Parliament, we will secure a very good majority,” Patnaik said.

When questioned about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent statement in a public meeting regarding the formation of a special committee to ascertain the reasons behind his ‘deteriorating’ health, Patnaik said, “The PM has recently said I am a good friend of his. Wasn’t it his duty to dismiss rumours by simply picking up the telephone and asking me directly, rather than announcing it in a public political meeting to garner votes?”