Vikash Sharma

The political atmosphere in Odisha has now warmed up ahead of the 2024 elections following the voluntary retirement (VRS) and subsequent appointment of 5T V Karthikeyan Pandian as Chairman of 5T (Transformational Initiatives) and Nabin Odisha in the rank of Cabinet Minister.

The Congress on Tuesday took a jibe at both the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by reiterating that both the political parties are the one. The resignation VK Pandian is just an eyewash and a larger conspiracy has begun to grab power in Odisha, alleged Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) President Sarat Pattanayak while addressing a presser in Bhubaneswar today.

“BJD and BJP are one as when VK Pandian submitted his application for VRS, the Central government approved it in just three days. There have been precedence in the past when the IAS officers had to resign after their VRS applications were rejected by the Centre. But now if the BJP-government had not accepted Pandian’s resignation, we would had thought that they are different,” said Pattanayak.

According to Pattanayak, BJD and BJP are one and are planning to fight the upcoming election in Odisha together and VK Pandian is their political agent. The people of Odisha know this and the only option for them is Congress. Raking up the mining scam again, PCC President said that several non-Odias were involved and no action was taken. The power vested in VK Pandian through the 5T initiative has been done by CM Naveen Patnaik as he is unable to tour the state may be on health grounds. But the way efforts are on to sub-let governance in the state is not acceptable at all, he said.

“The people of Odisha no longer want to stay in rented houses. It is time to restore Odia governance in the state. Anything is possible in the state and I strongly believe that Odia people will give a befitting reply in 2024 elections,” said Pattanayak.

Senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said, “I was expecting this and it is no surprise to me at all. Had the Odisha government taken this decision earlier, it would have benefited them. Nothing wrong or any unconstitutional work has been done. But the decision which has been taken should have been taken by the Cabinet. But CM has power and such a decision can be made in anticipation of the Cabinet. VK Pandian is a successful bureaucrat and administrator. But it is a million dollar question on how far he will be successful in politics.”

State BJP President Manmohan Samal said, “BJP had opposed Pandian as he was indulging in direct politics while being in the administration. Now as a citizen, he can do politics. BJP will fight the upcoming election on its own ideology. Whatever was happening in the past was not at all healthy and we were only opposing such a system.”

When asked about VK Pandian’s new role, senior BJD leader, Sashi Bhusan Behera said, “For CM Naveen Patnaik, Odisha’s development and people’s interest is top priority. Hence, VK Pandian has been bestowed upon a new role to take the agenda forward. He has been playing a crucial role in developing Odisha as an officer and he has been given a special role. We hope that VK Pandian will take this forward.”

When asked about accepting Pandian’s VRS application in three days, Behera said that such a decision has been taken by the Centre and they can comment on it.

  • Reported by: