Bhubaneswar: Today marks an important day for Odisha. A new dawn is breaking over the State. A new beginning is being defined as VK Pandian takes the political solemnity to serve the people. The leader of the masses, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has taken a decision to bring his trusted lieutenant into the political realm so that the people of Odisha get the next rung of political leadership and the development paradigm continues. Though a long pending decision, it is the culmination of the people’s demand and the need for strong leadership that will work for realization of a new Odisha as envisioned by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Pandian’s entry into politics on this auspicious day of Kartika Purnima also marks the beginning of a sustainable, accountable, transparent, effective and responsive leadership that will further continue and raise Odisha’s development trajectory.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is one of the few leaders of India who have left an indelible mark on Indian polity. He entered politics in the year 1997 and became the Chief Minister of Odisha in the year 2000. Since then, there has been no looking back for the longest serving Chief Minister of Odisha. His leadership in the new millennium has heralded a new era of development for Odisha. Odisha’s promising growth and development can be attributed to Naveen’s far sighted governance. Founded 25 years ago by Naveen, the Biju Janata Dal has also become a force to reckon with. Today, the Biju Janata Dal is not only a political party but a mass movement that has the only motto – welfare of the common man driven by the ideals of Biju Babu.
It has been about a quarter of a century that CM Naveen Patnaik led the Biju Janata Dal. Now the time has come to take it to the next level by bringing in new leadership that will have a greater responsibility towards the society. For Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, VK Pandian has been the most trusted aide. Ever since Pandian became the Private Secretary of Naveen in 2011, the bond between the two leaders just got stronger and bigger. The relationship between Naveen and Pandian has never been less that a father and son duo. In the last more than a decade, the bond between them got stronger and Naveen’s fatherly hand always remained over Pandian’s head.
Also, the association between Naveen Patnaik and VK Pandian depicts that of a Guru–Shishya where Guru Naveen has sowed all the attributes of a good leader in Pandian. Naveen’s guidance and direction have made Pandian to come this far. All the attributes of Naveen, simplicity, discipline, soberness, honesty and farsightedness are found in Pandian. While Naveen remained committed to the development of the state and welfare of its people, Pandian stood with him as a disciplined disciple.
Speculation was rife about Pandian joining active politics after he resigned from the civil services. People welcomed the decision of the Chief Minister to appoint him as the Chairman of 5T Transformational Initiatives and Nabin Odisha. And, now his formally joining the Biju Janata Dal clearly indicates that Naveen wants Pandian to play a bigger role in the state.
VK Pandian’s legacy as an upright civil servant is known to all. He started his Odisha Civil Services career in the year 2000 and served the people for more than two decades. During his distinguished career, Pandian held many responsible positions. From being the young Sub-Collector of Dharamgarh to ADM in Rourkela and as Collector of Mayurbhanj and Ganjam, Pandian left a special mark of his good governance. During the course of his career, he not only learnt the nuances of governance but also brought in new pathbreaking initiatives that brought governance nearer to the people.
In the 24 years of service in Odisha, Pandian has carved a good rapport with the people of the state. His relationship with the people of Odisha has been exemplary. Wherever he went, throughout the state, he has made a special place for him in the hearts of the people. Be it Kalahandi, Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh or Ganjam, Pandian’s people centric approach remained the base of his development initiatives. His visits to the hinterlands across the state for grassroots level interaction with common people strengthened the faith of the people in Pandian. Remaining closer to the people of Odisha for nearly a quarter of a century has made him more than a true Odia. It is never a short term relationship, but a lifelong bond with the people of Odisha.
Pandian’s exhaustive visits to the districts in the last few months to listen to the grievances of the people and take feedback is a rare instance and never seen before in the country. During his visit and interaction with the people, one thing that was notable was he gave importance to Odia and spoke with the people in detail. Pandian’s interactions with the people across the 30 districts have strengthened his commitment to solving their problems and bring in the next level of governance.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s decision to make Pandian his Private Secretary was a turning point in the career of Pandian. Under the leadership of Naveen Patnaik, Pandian was able to utilize his talent for the development of the state. He successfully helped Naveen in bringing about the pathbreaking transformative initiatives. In the crucial first two decades of the new millennium, during which Odisha saw itself leading in all the parameters of development, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and VK Pandian continued to propel the state to new highs. Be it making the state financially self sufficient, transforming the health and education infrastructure, bringing in revolutionary investments and accelerating industrial activity, agricultural self sufficiency, transforming heritage places and improving the lives of the masses through various scheme and programs, Pandian played an important role. Pandian’s grassroots reach out helped him articulate the needs of the common man and make policies that will have more impact on the people.
One of the important aspects that could have prompted Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to bring Pandian to the political fold is he a young and energetic officer and is the choice of the next generation. Forty nine year old Pandian has a vast experience of dealing with the people and perfectly fits in Naveen’s intent to bring in more and more young people to lead the state.
Pandian has the blessings of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ever since he joined Odisha cadre. He was under Naveen’s lens for his good works. During the last 12 years, while working directly under the Chief Minister as his Private Secretary, Pandian was part and parcel of every decision that the Chief Minister took and meticulously involved himself in the planning and execution of the various policies and programs of the government.
Pandian’s political journey may have begun today, but he has a deep insight into the political scenarios of Odisha. His long tenure service in various parts of the state has helped him to get a good grip over the political matters in every nook and corner of the state. He is also well versed with the various political parties of the state. It won’t be a big deal for him to take on the opposition and take Biju Janata Dal to new highs. His joining the BJD will further strengthen the party.
VK Pandian’s leadership is well known for his grassroots level involvement. During his distinguished career, he was more on the ground solving the people’s necessities and streamlining the governance through feedback. He has made thousands of field visits to the districts and villages where the real Odisha lives. He is one of the best leaders in the state today who knows the state from the core. He also knows the necessities of the people.
The 5T Initiatives, an indelible part of Odisha’s governance system today is an articulation of Pandian’s efforts to bring in transformation. Propelled by 5T Initiatives, Odisha is progressing at a pace that was never recorded earlier. The 5T Initiatives have already started showing the results and all the aspects of governance have been transformed. Today Odisha is on the path of all round development propelled by the 5T Initiatives as envisioned by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Naveen’s 5-T Mantra has been the mainstay of the Government’s all developmental programs and transformation. Governance in the State is also getting overhauled with the common man becoming the focal point. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s choice of VK Pandian to lead the 5T Initiatives is obvious looking at his overwhelming career.
Under the 5T Initiatives all the sectors are being transformed in the state. Healthcare, education, economy, agriculture, development of places of religious and cultural importance, modernization etc have got a thrust. VK Pandian has been actively pursuing all the efforts. The High School Transformation Program undertaken by the Government of Odisha is an example of the result of the implementation of the 5T Initiatives. Now Odisha has the best of infrastructure in the government hospitals thanks to the Government’s efforts in the last few years to augment resources for public health. SCB Medical College, Cuttack is being developed into an AIIMS plus category institution which will cater to the people the state in the next few years. The readiness of the state to fight the Covid-19 Pandemic is a bright example of Odisha’s transformation under the 5T Initiatives.
Coming under the framework of the 5T Initiatives, Mo Sarkar has been instrumental in transforming the governance in the State. The Government services have become easy to be accessible by the common man with the use of technology and bringing in a change in the working culture in the offices. Common man has become the foundation of governance today. Citizen centric services of the Government of Odisha are being provided at the doorsteps of the people thanks to the implementation of the 5T Initiatives.
One of the brainchild of Pandian is the philosophy of Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha that is being implemented in Odisha to safeguard the culture and traditions of the state. This great idea is an example of Pandian’s farsighted effort to bring social equity and transformation. It is bringing in a sustainable development to the rural areas across the state.
Ever since Pandian took voluntary retirement, scores of people are meeting him to congratulate him and wish him for the new responsibility. A large number of organizations and associations have met Pandian and extended him their support for his new endeavours. Be it employee associations, business community, industry representatives, servitors, intellectuals or the political wings, all have given him a thumbs up and wan him to take the lead under the guidance of Naveen. This shows how much the people love him and want that the legacy brought forward by Naveen continue in the hands of Pandian.
The formal joining of VK Pandian into the Biju Janata Dal just happened today, but the Party and its leaders had accepted him as their leader since long. The party cadre has shown massive support to Pandian’s joining BJD. They had requested him and he reciprocated. From the grassroots and Panchayat level workers to senior leaders of Biju Janata Dal wanted Pandian to lead the party and take the center stage. Today, their demands have fulfilled and they see in him the leader who will successfully steer the party in fulfilling the dreams of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of Nabin Odisha. Scores of Biju Janata Dal leaders met Pandian at the Naveen Niwas and congratulated him after he was made the Chairman of 5T Transformative Initiatives and Nabin Odisha. His joining the Biju Janata Dal will open a new chapter in the journey of the Party in the coming days. Like in the governance system, Pandian will surely bring in progressive changes in the party and further strengthen it.