Bhubaneshwar (28.11.2023): V K Pandian (Retd IAS: 2000: OD) has joined the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the presence of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and other senior party leaders at Naveen Niwas. The BJD’s decision to induct Pandian into the party fold on Kartik Purnima, considered to be the auspicious day in Odisha, holds huge political significance. The Tamil Nadu-born Pandian is likely to be given a position in the BJD next to Patnaik, who continues to be the president of the ruling party since December 26, 1997.
The role and position of Pandian is not yet clear but it is likely that he will be designing party’s campaign plan and candidate selection ahead of the forthcoming Assembly and general elections due in April-May 2024. Pandian took blessings of Patnaik by touching his feet before formally joining the party at 10.15 am. “The CM told Pandian to work for the party and the state the way he worked with him as his private secretary for the past 13-14 years. The CM said his past administrative and political experience will be an asset for the party,” BJD Lok Sabha MP Pinaki Mishra said.
On October 23, Pandian took voluntary retirement. A day later, he was appointed chairman of Nabin Odisha and Vision 5T, the Patnaik government’s flagship initiatives, with the rank of Cabinet minister. In May 2011, he was in the CM’s office as his private secretary.
It was in March 2023, when Pandian started visiting districts to attend “public grievance” meetings apparently on the direction of the chief minister, where he took a public role by shaking hands with people, announcing schemes for different areas and making speeches like political leaders.