VK Pandian: 7 things to know about Naveen Patnaik’s aide and BJD leader who quit ‘active politics’ | Latest News India

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By Mahtab Ahmad

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VK Pandian, Biju Janata Dal leader and a close aide of outgoing chief minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik, on Sunday quit active politics following the party’s defeat in the Odisha assembly elections.

Odisha 5T chairman and BJD leader V Karthikeyan Pandian.(PTI file)
Odisha 5T chairman and BJD leader V Karthikeyan Pandian.(PTI file)

“My intent of joining politics was only, only to assist Naveen Babu…Now consciously, I decide to withdraw myself from active politics. I am sorry if I have hurt anyone on this journey. I am sorry if this campaign narrative against me has had a part to play in BJD’s loss…,” VK Pandian said in a video statement.

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The BJP stormed to power in Odisha, ending the 24-year rule of the BJD, by winning 78 seats in the 147-member assembly. The BJD, on the other hand, bagged 51 seats, while the Congress won 14 constituencies, the CPI (M) one. Three Independent nominees also emerged victorious.

The BJD failed to win any of the Lok Sabha seats in the state, with the BJP bagging 20 and the Congress one.

Who is VK Pandian?

  1. VK Pandian, a former bureaucrat, was appointed as chairman of 5T (transformational initiatives) after he opted for voluntary retirement from his civil service career.
  2. VK Pandian’s appointment granted him the rank of a cabinet minister and allowed him to work directly under Naveen Patnaik.
  3. The 50-year-old VK Pandian had earlier served as the private secretary to Naveen Patnaik.
  4. The Odisha government’s 5T governance charter, which focuses on transparency, technology, teamwork and time leading to transformation, was formerly spearheaded by VK Pandian as its secretary.
  5. VK Pandian’s portfolio isn’t limited to bureaucratic governance. His role in executing large-scale projects like the Sri Jagannath Heritage Corridor is noteworthy. This forthcoming project aims to construct a 75-metre-wide corridor surrounding the ancient Shree Jagannath Temple, enhancing both its visibility and security. Additionally, the man has been a guiding force in the restoration of ancient temples across Odisha.
  6. Before his roles in the upper ranks of Odisha’s government, Pandian had a diverse career in the civil service. A 2000-batch IAS officer, he commenced his public service as a sub-collector in Dharmagarh and later took on the roles of district collector in Mayurbhanj and Ganjam.
  7. His contributions have led to the Odisha government’s flagship programme, ‘Mo Sarkar’, which elevates citizen involvement in governance. The initiative collects random feedback from citizens to assess the efficacy of public services. This is believed to hold government functionaries accountable for their actions.


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