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BJD not dependent on him, says Naveen Patnaik

BHUBANESWAR: The Biju Janata Dal was a people’s movement not dependent on any individual, not even him, said founder-president Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Speaking at the 23rd foundation day celebrations of the regional party, Patnaik, CM for a fifth consecutive term, said, “Biju Janata Dal is not a political party and it is not dependent on some or other leaders including me for its survival and growth. BJD has now become a people’s movement.”

Addressing party colleagues at the BJD headquarter Patnaik recalled his late father, and former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik’s words: “Biju Babu often said that don’t be loyal to me but be loyal to the cause of Odisha’s destiny. True to his words, BJD has now become a peoples’ movement.”

The undiminished popularity of Patnaik, despite his two decades in politics, has ensured the regional party’s dominance in the state. He has similarly retained a complete hold over the party, which was founded on December 26, 1997 by some of his father’s old colleagues who have either fallen out and gone their own way or don’t matter in the scheme of things within the BJD. For BJD’s voters, particularly women, Patnaik is non-corrupt and benevolent; they are willing to forgive the party its shortcomings for any assurance from the statesmanlike CM.

The 74 year Patnaik refuses to entertain any debate on a succession plan for the BJD, while also dismissing off-and-on speculation of his nephew joining politics. The party, he insists, will chose its new leader. Fighting a bitter 2018 elections, Patnaik went the extra mile to prove that he was in perfectly able health to return for a fifth consecutive term.

In its fifth term the BJD government has launched a governance framework, 5T and with it Mo Sarkar that every department is to implement eventually. It claims it will redefine governance in the state. Much of the government’s focus has been on the rollout of these two schemes that Patnaik has entrusted his Private Secretary, V Karthikeya Pandian, to supervise. The 2000 batch IAS officer is credited with helping the BJD beat back a strong challenge from the BJP during the last simultaneous elections. With these programs, the officer said to be the CM’s closest associate, has stepped into a more public role.

Source: Economic Times