Power Play Unveiled: Ex-Aide to Odisha CM Takes Center Stage! What’s Behind VK Pandian’s New Role?

Explore the intrigue behind VK Pandian’s swift transition from Odisha Chief Minister’s private secretary to Chairman of 5T and ‘Nabin Odisha.’ Dive into the political dynamics and controversies surrounding his move after voluntary retirement. Uncover the twists and turns in Odisha’s corridors of power!

VK Pandian
Centre approves the voluntary retirement of IAS officer VK Pandian.

Following his voluntary retirement, VK Pandian, the former private secretary to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, has assumed a pivotal role as the Chairman of 5T (Transformational Initiatives) and ‘Nabin Odisha’ in the Odisha government. This newly assigned position comes with the distinction of being appointed at the rank of a cabinet minister, allowing Pandian to report directly to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The move comes in the wake of Pandian’s voluntary retirement from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), a decision that gained approval from the Central government.

VK Pandian, a 2000-batch Odisha cadre IAS officer, has long been regarded as a close aide to Chief Minister Patnaik. However, his tenure has not been without controversy, facing opposition accusations of operating the Odisha government on behalf of the Chief Minister. This scrutiny intensified, especially in light of Pandian’s high-profile district tours using the state chopper, leading to allegations of flouting service condition norms.

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The appointment of Pandian as the Chairman of 5T and ‘Nabin Odisha’ signifies his continued influence in shaping Odisha’s governance landscape. The 5T initiative focuses on Transformational Initiatives, aiming to bring about significant positive changes across various sectors. Meanwhile, ‘Nabin Odisha’ reflects the state’s commitment to new and transformative initiatives under Pandian’s leadership.

Throughout his tenure as Patnaik’s aide since 2011, Pandian played a key role in formulating and implementing several state initiatives. These include the impactful Mo Sarkar, the ambitious Srimandir Parikrama project, and the healthcare-focused Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojna (BSKY), among others. His involvement extended to transformative projects in healthcare and education, as well as efforts to restore and preserve ancient temples of cultural and religious significance across the state.

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The voluntary retirement and subsequent appointment of VK Pandian have triggered political discussions and reactions. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress, in the opposition, had previously criticized Pandian for perceived overreach in his role. Congress senior leader Jairam Ramesh took to social media to comment on the situation, stating that what was unofficial until now had become official. Ramesh characterized the dynamics in Odisha as “strange,” highlighting the perceived role reversal where Chief Minister Patnaik operated as an “absentee landlord,” while VK Pandian functioned as the de facto CEO of the state.

In summary, VK Pandian‘s transition to the Chairman of 5T and ‘Nabin Odisha’ underscores his continued influence in shaping transformative initiatives in Odisha’s governance. The move follows his voluntary retirement from the IAS and positions him to play a central role in the state’s strategic and developmental pursuits. The political implications of this development add a layer of complexity to the evolving narrative of Odisha’s administrative landscape.

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