ANI Photo | “Won’t contest any election in 2024, Naveen Patnaik’s successor will be decided by people”: VK Pandian

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s close aide VK Pandian does not plan to contest the Lok Sabha election preferring to work towards taking Odisha to “the pinnacle of development.”
In an interview with ANI, the former IAS officer asserted that he wants to work for the Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
“In 2024, I am not going to contest any elections. I was asked for a party post also. I said, no, I’ll just work for Naveen Patnaik. He is my leader. I draw a lot of inspiration from him. He has given me so much freedom for so long to do great work. So I am indebted to him and the State. The people of State have shown so much love and affection for me. So I go with the flow,” Pandian said.
The bureaucrat who joined Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal party in November 2023 said that he did so with “a clear heart to make Naveen Patnaik Chief Minister for the sixth time.”
“So I told the Chief Minister, I am going to assist you in this election process. I am going to work for you. No expectations. I will work for you,” Pandian said.
The former IAS officer also said that he wants to help Odisha Chief Minister adding that he is an “inspiration.”
Replying to the question of what is wrong in contesting election, the ex-bureaucrat said, “It’s not a wrong thing to do. No, not at all. We all are products of democracy. Ours is a democratic country. But in 2024, I decided that I should be helping the chief minister. I want to help him because whatever said and done, it’s his sixth term. And I draw inspiration from him. He is 78 years old. How much hard work he does. One draws inspiration from him.”
He further said that he realised that he wouldn’t be able to do political work if he continued in the bureaucracy.
Reacting to the question of being the heir to Naveen Babu’s politics, he said that people of Odisha will decide on Patnaik’s successor.
“As CM has always said that people of Odisha will decide who will succeed him. I think that is the best answer to give. I am just helping him in whichever way I can. I do not have any ambitions. I am just helping the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in whichever way he wants me to do for him. In fact, I am not even contesting the elections,” Pandian said.
Pandian further said that Odisha CM has groomed him to serve the people in the best possible way adding that people of Odisha will decide want kind of leadership they want to select.
“He has groomed me to serve the people in the best possible way. But he has always said, the people of the state will decide who will succeed him. And that is the stand which he always taken. He is very transparent that way. If people of the Odisha want a particular kind of leadership, they will select it. So, and one goes with the flow, no expectations,” he added.
Noting that the BJD is his family, Pandian said that he received enormous love and affection from the party and the people.
“Actually, I see BJD as a family. Even in brothers and sisters, there will be some jealousy, some anger. That’s how I see. And one should live with it. But I get enormous love and affection from the party and the people. It’s unbelievable sometimes. Unexplainable. And that is that inexplicable thing which made me to jump into this. So it’s the people’s love finally what matters. And the party respects people’s love,” he added

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