In a major development the 5T Secretary of Odisha govt, V Karthikeyan Pandian took voluntary retirement from service. The voluntary retirement of Pandian has been approved by the Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions.
"I am directed to convey the approval of the competent authority for acceptance of voluntary retirement of V Karthikeyan Pandian, IAS (OD-2000) under Rule 16 (2A) of the All India Services Rules, 1958 with the waiver of the notice period as recommended by the State Government," read the letter from the Under Secretary to Government of India, Bhupinder Pal Singh to the Additional Chief Secretary of the Odisha General Administration & PG Department.
Plunge into politics?
Pandian, as the 5T secretary was in the limelight after going to the people to collect complaints at meetings on behalf of the CM. He had drawn flak from opposition parties, who have been linking him with political activities of the ruling Biju Janata Dal(BJD).
His voluntary retirement has immediately triggered speculations about his probable plunge into politics.
Speaking to the media, senior journalist, Prasanna Mohanty, said "After the voluntary retirement of VK Pandian, there is a high likelihood of him taking a plunge into politics. But it remains to be seen what kind of role he would take up in the coming days.”
Some observers believe that the retired IAS officer may be the successor of BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik.
The opposition BJP and Congress had asked him to resign and "officially join the BJD", after he went on a whirlwind tour across the state during which he held 190 meetings to hear public grievances.
Notably, Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi and several other leaders had challenged that if the 2000 batch IAS officer, Pandian is keen to do politics, he should resign from his official post.
The role in Odisha politics?
Senior journalist Rajaram Satpathy said that Pandian, who is believed to be a close confidant of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, may have a role in Odisha politics.
Congress leader Santosh Singh Saluja, said "If Pandian comes to politics after resigning from the IAS, we will welcome him. We have nothing to say as he has resigned from the post. If he takes up leadership of the BJD, it will impact people. He may take up active politics. However, his leadership will not be politically beneficial for the BJD. People are not ready to accept Pandian. His leadership will in no way affect the prospects of Congress.”
Saluja also predicted that if the 5T secretary joins BJD, the ruling party will suffer.
Super CM or advisor?
BJP leader Mohan Majhi said, “He may be in an advisory role and control BJD's political activities from the backdoor. He may play the role of a super chief minister. We have been challenging him to come to direct politics. The political activities he has been doing over some years have displeased people.”
A dark chapter in Indian Bureaucracy!
Congress leader Bijay Patnaik said, "With his retirement, a dark chapter in the history of Indian bureaucracy came to an end. It was not good to see a bureaucrat doing politics on behalf of a political party. After his retirement, he may become a full-time politician. We have nothing to say about it.”
Pandian's career snapshot
He started his career as Dharmagarh sub-collector from 2002 to 2004. Later he served as Collector of Mayurbhanj from 2005 to 2007. Then he became the Collector of Ganjam from 2007 to 2011. Thereafter, he joined the CMO in 2011. For the last 12 years, he was the private secretary to the Chief Minister of Odisha. He was made the 5T secretary in 2019.