Pandian is not my successor and he shouldn’t be blamed for poll defeat: Outgoing Odisha CM

Bhubaneswar: After facing defeat in the recently concluded elections in Odisha, outgoing Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today cleared the air on VK Pandian’s role speculated in media for the BJD’s loss.

Speaking to leading media agencies today, the 77-year-old BJD Supremo strongly defended his close aide Pandian, who is allegedly behind BJD’s poll debacle, and made it clear that the latter was not his political successor.

He shunned all criticism against Pandian terming it as ‘unfortunate’. He recalled the former bureaucrat’s contribution to the government during cyclones and COVID-19 pandemic.

“There has been some criticism of Mr Pandian. This is unfortunate. As an officer, he did excellent work in many fields in the last 10 years helping during two cyclones and the Covid-19 epidemic in the state. After this good work, he retired from bureaucracy and joined my party and contributed largely by doing excellent work,” Patnaik told reporters.

He described Pandian as a person of integrity and honesty. He said that Pandian should be remembered for all that.

Lauding Pandian’s contribution, the outgoing CM said, “Mr Pandian has also worked and helped in the field of health, education, sports and our programme of temple restoration. Mr Pandian joined the party and has not held any post. He did not fight in the elections from any constituency.”

He again cleared the speculation about Pandian as his successor.

“I have said clearly that it is not Mr Pandian. I repeat again that the people of Odisha will decide my successor,” Patnaik asserted.

He also cleared the air on his ‘declining’ heath conditions.

“There have been some questions on my health. I want to say here categorically that my health has always been fine and continues to be so. You have been seen in the last month, I have done hectic campaigning in the heat and that should be enough to give a verdict on my health,” Patnaik said.

Naveen Patnaik, the BJD stalwart who witnessed his party’s defeat for the first time since its inception in Odisha, accepted people’s verdict and assured to serve people of Odisha in every possible way.

“In a democracy, you either win or you lose. So, I have been defeated after a long time. We must always take the verdict of people gracefully. I have always said that the 4.5 crore people of Odisha my family. And I will continue to serve them in whichever way I can,” he said.


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