Cassian Baliarsingh

Keeping the rumour mill running over his succession plans, BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik on Thursday threw a hint about his replacement that will carry forward his legacy.

Patnaik, who took over as the Chief Minister of Odisha in 2000 will complete 23 years at the helm in March 2023. The BJD supremo, who founded the party after his father and former Odisha Chief Minister Biju Patnaik’s death, has started looking to the future of the party beyond himself.

With no children to pass his wealth and fortune on, there have been several speculations on who will finally take over his chair.

In an exclusive interview to a Magazine, Patnaik has finally opened up about his successor.

Answering about a succession plan, Patnaik said, “The BJD is a vibrant political part with strong democratic values. It enjoys the confidence of the people of Odisha. The party has definite plans and it will serve the people affectionately for a long time to come.”

However, on the contrary, during the 2019 elections, Naveen had clearly stated that the people of Odisha will chose his successor.

“The people of Odisha will decide who will succeed the party. The successor will be from BJD and not from my family,” he had stated this at the party's foundation day that year. He had further stated that the BJD is not a political party and is not dependent on him or some other leaders for its survival and growth.

“BJD has now become a people’s movement,” he had said.

This has further raised speculations on the future of BJD as the CM has been remaining absent at party workshops despite staying in the city.

Commenting on the issue, senior journalist Navin Das said, “Although, he is in the town, he distances himself from party workshops. This shows that the party can move forward without him also.”

However, the question still prevails if someone from the party will take over or he will hand it over to his family members.

Senior journalist Prasanna Mohanty said, “Anybody can be his successor. Someone from his family or his party. But, Patnaik should reveal about his definite plans before the people of Odisha.”


Reporter: Soumyaranjan Sahoo and Harihar Chand