Odisha CM Patnaik eying for 6th term

Beyond the Horizon

By Pradeep Kumar

Five-year is term for an elected government in the democratic setup of India to serve in any state or union territory or the Centre. However 46 chief ministers of the country have crossed the ‘Laxman Rekha’ and Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling is at the top of the list.

 

Chamling, who served for 24 years & 166 days (12.12.1994 to 27.05.2019) is followed by present Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik (born on 16.10.1946), who has already served for 23 years & 267 days since 05.03. 2000 by leading his Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government, But he has evolved strategy for 2024 elections by eyeing sixth term in office.

 

Former CMs Jyoti Basu (West Bengal) had topped the list by serving for 23 years & 138 days (21.06.1977 to 06.11.2000) and Gegong Apang (Arunachal Pradesh) for 22 years & 250 days (03.08. 2003 to 09.04. 2007).

Strategy: CM Patnaik’s most confidential aide V. Kartik. Pandian, born on 29.05.1974 at Koothappanatti village near Melur in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu, joined IAS in 2000 to be allotted Punjab cadre but changed to Odisha cadre after marrying fellow IAS officer Sujata Rout, an Odisha native. He was first appointed as sub-collector of Dharagarh in Kalahandi district, became Mauurbhanj collector in 2005 and got national award for rehabilitation of people with disabilities, became Ganjam collector in 2007, got national award for working for people with HIV/AIDS and for NREGS implementation, CM picked him as private secretary, assumed additional charge of 5T initiative and run CMO as senior-most bureaucrat since 2019 till taking voluntary retirement on 23.10.23.

  Pandain, who joined BJD and was appointed chairman of 5T and Nabin Odisha with cabinet rank on 24.10.23, a great strategist and with his vast experiences, is expected to play a vital role in ensuing elections.

Pandain joins  BJD

He was inducted into the party in the presence of CM. Patnaik, senior ministers and party leaders, in residence of the CM, who said: “I welcome Mr. Pandian to the BJD. He has been working really hard for several years for the people of our state and will continue to do so as a member of the party.”

Pandian, whose joining of BJD coincided with Kartika Purnima, said, “with blessing of Lord Jagannath, guidance of CM and support of party leaders, I will serve the people of Odisha with dedication, humility and selflessness.”

In fact, “Pandian played a key role in realisation of Odisha’s CMs vision for the state. He took care that CM’s image remained unblemished. His formal joining in the party is another commitment towards CM. I hope he would work taking along the grassroots worker of the BJD,” said organisational secretary Pranab Prakash Das.

A powerful bureaucrat, who was known to have a final say in programme implementation relating to all departments in his capacity of 5T secretary; all major infrastructures, including renovation of Shree Jagannath Temple surroundings, transforming SCB Medical College Hospital into AIIMS-plus institution and Bhubaneswar Metro Project are being implemented under his direct supervision.

He was widely known in he ruling BJD and the Opposition that he played a crucial role in strategising the electoral success of the CM. Opposition leaders often challenged him to actively participate in party politics rather than remaining on the sidelines.

     With Pandian now officially a part of the BJD, political dynamics in Odisha are expected to become more intriguing and analysts believe that the mystery surrounding the succession of Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik will be significantly clarified,

Though Orissa province was created on 01.04.1936 and renamed on 24.03.11 as Odisha, which has undergone major transformation during tenure of Patnaik to become 16th largest state economy in India with ₹5.86 trillion in gross domestic product with ₹127,383 per capita GDP to rank 32nd among Indian states in Human Development Index.

   Odisha, 8th largest state by area, 11th largest by population with 41 million inhabitants, is basically a tribal dominated state with third-largest ST population of of India. Though formarly known as Utkala, found  mention in national anthem Jana Gana Mana, but its ancient name was Kalinga, which was invaded by Mauryan Emperor  Ashoka, who had earned the sobriquet Chandasoka for butchering 100,000 Kalinga people, capturing 150,000 and affecting many more. The resulting bloodshed and suffering had deeply shocked Ashoka, who had denounced violence by embracing Buddhism to become Dharmasoka.

Buddhism, originated 2,500 years ago in India to become one of the world’s largest religions as Buddhists believe that the human life is one of suffering, and that meditation, spiritual and physical labour and good behavior are the ways to achieve enlightenment  (nirvana). King Ashoka had sent his son Mahndra and daughter Sanghmitra to spread Buddhism across South East Asia.

Odisha is not only famous for Lingaraj Temple, an architectural wonder built by Somavanshi king Jajati Keshari, but also for Jagannath Temple in Puri dedicated trinity of supreme divinity – Jagannath (Lord of the universe), a form of Vishnu, his elder brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra. Unlike stone and metal icons found in most Hindu temples, the image of Jagannath made of wood is ceremoniously replaced every 12 or 19 years by an exact replica.

Avanti King Indradyumna had built the main temple and present temple was rebuilt since 10th century onwards on the same site. Construction of main Jagannatha temple was begun by Eastern Ganga dynasty first king Anantavarman Chodoganga and completed in 1161 CE.  The temple is famous for its annual Ratha Yatra or chariot festival, when three  deities are pulled on huge and elaborately decorated temple cars.  Worship is performed by the Bhil Sawar tribal priests as well as priests of other communities in the Jagannath temple.

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