Bhubaneswar Oct 16:Twenty four years ago, he was a reluctant entrant into politics, when his father legendary Biju Patnaik’s death caused a void in Odisha politics. Now Naveen, who today turned 76, has mastered the art of politicking. He is now one of the longest surviving chief ministers in the country.
Naveen, now on the second year of his fifth consecutive term in the office, has been able to neutralize the Modi wave sweeping across the country twice. In 2014, Naveen’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD) had won 20 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats from Odisha and 117 seats in the 147-member assembly in the state. During the 2019 general election, BJD has bagged 12 Lok Sabha seats and 112 assembly seats, despite a strong BJP wave across the country.
Although he has remained a bachelor, his bonhomie with women continues intact. Women have largely voted BJD during the last three assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
On the other hand, Naveen has managed to have a good equation with the BJP-ruled Modi government at the centre. The regional outfit has supported a few important bills on the floors of the Parliament keeping the “state’s interest in view.”
Meanwhile, Naveen has launched “Mo Sarkar”, 5-T initiative, and few other populist programmes apparently to win the confidence of the electorate for the sixth term. During his meetings with top officers, Naveen has been emphasizing ‘citizen-centric governance’
The chief minister himself has been monitoring the steps initiated by his government to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. The Naveen Patnaik government has also been appreciated by the UN and other international and national agencies for its prompt move to face natural disasters, frequenting the state, and especially its ‘zero casualty’ approach.
Naveen has entrusted the implementation of the 5-T initiative to his Secretary VK Pandian by designating him as the 5-T Secretary. Pandian and the state’s Chief Secretary, SC Mohapatra have in the meanwhile visited several districts and taken stock of the various ongoing vital projects.