Mrunal Manmay Dash

A day after his VRS request was accepted, V Karthikeyan Pandian was appointed as Chairman of 5T (Transformational Initiatives) and Nabin Odisha in the rank of Cabinet Minister. 

Pandian will work directly under Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. 

"V K Pandian is hereby appointed as Chairman 5T (Transformational Initiatives) and Nabin Odisha in the rank of Cabinet Minister. Pandian shall work directly under the Chief Minister," read an official statement released by the general administration and public grievance department.   

The appointment of Pandian as the 5T chairman has put to rest all the speculations over his next course of action following his voluntary retirement on Monday.

The 2000 batch IAS officer, who started his career as Dharmagarh sub-collector and later served as Collector of different districts, joined the CMO in 2011and remained there for the last 12 years.

He was the private secretary to the Chief Minister of Odisha. He was made the 5T secretary in 2019.

Pandian's appointment attracted many reactions from all quarters. Senior Congress MLA, Narasingha Mishra said, "I am not surprised by this decision at all. I knew Pandian will be officially inducted into the party after his VRS. It was bound to happen to compensate for the loss incurred due to visiting all thirty districts in Odisha. Now the Opposition cannot criticise it because it is not illegal or unconstitutional."

Senior journalist and political expert Rabi Das said, "This is a political appointment. And by this order, CM Naveen Patnaik has made it clear that Pandian is the most trustworthy soldier in his party. Just like late Pyaari Mohan Mohapatra, Patnaik wanted a trusted man to manage BJD's political campaign in elections. Hence Pandian's appointment."