VK Pandian – In a significant political development in Odisha, VK Pandian, the trusted private secretary of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the state’s 5T secretary, has been elevated to the rank of a Cabinet Minister. This move comes after Pandian opted for voluntary retirement, amidst growing criticism from the Opposition regarding his frequent public appearances ahead of the crucial 2024 elections.
Pandian, a 2000 batch IAS officer with roots in Tamil Nadu, first gained attention for his impeccable credentials as a young district collector who worked tirelessly in Ganjam district in the aftermath of the Odisha super cyclone in 1999. His dedication and commitment caught the eye of Naveen Patnaik, who brought him into the Chief Minister’s Office in 2011.
Over the years, Pandian’s influence over the party and government has only grown. He filled the space vacated by Patnaik’s once trusted aide and ex-IAS officer Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, who was expelled from the party after attempting to dislodge the CM.
Pandian’s new role will see him appointed as chairman of 5T (Transformational Initiatives) and Nabin Odisha scheme in the “rank of Cabinet minister”. He will work directly under the Chief Minister.
While it is too early to say whether VK Pandian will be contesting in the 2024 assembly elections, it is clear that he would play a key role in managing BJD and Odisha’s politics. This move marks a significant milestone in his career and is expected to have a substantial impact on Odisha’s political landscape.