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Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik's Secretary Takes VRS

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 24, Oct 2023, 17:35 pm IST | UPDATED: 24, Oct 2023, 17:35 pm IST

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik's Secretary Takes VRS A day after 2000 batch IAS officer VK Pandian's voluntary retirement was accepted by the Centre, the former secretary of Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik has got a bigger role than expected. VK Pandian has been given a cabinet minister rank in the Odisha government. A directive from Odisha's General Administration and Public Grievance department has designated the former IAS officer as the chairman for the state government's 5T (Transformation Initiatives) and Nabin Odisha scheme. 

Pandian commenced his career as the sub-collector of Dharmagarh in Kalahandi in 2002. He subsequently served as the collector of Mayurbhanj in 2005 and was later appointed as the collector of Ganjam in 2007. It was during his tenure in Ganjam that he earned the trust of the Chief Minister. In 2011, Pandian transitioned to the Chief Minister's Office and was subsequently promoted to the role of Chief Minister Patnaik's private secretary.

Pandian's ascent to become the most trusted aide of Naveen Patnaik faced criticism from the party's adversaries like the BJP and the Congress, who have alleged that he misused his bureaucratic position.

Congress MP Saptagiri Ulaka said that it wouldn't be surprising if Pandian assumed the role of the Chief Minister of Odisha before the upcoming elections next year. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also said that the move was expected. "He has been a fine civil servant and helped Naveen Patnaik enormously. But it is good that a de facto situation will finally become a de jure one, and Pandian will become a political figure in his own right. It was a strange situation in Odisha for over a decade and a half with the CM being like an absentee landlord and his chief aide functioning as the state's CEO," said Ramesh.

Meanwhile, BJP chief whip Mohan Majhi commented, "Now, he will have the opportunity to engage in politics openly, without the facade of a bureaucrat. The people of Odisha may not embrace him.

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