Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Opposition BJP has unleashed a scathing attack on Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for saying 5T chairman VK Pandian is not his successor.

In an exclusive interview with ANI on Thursday, Patnaik said that Pandian is not his successor and that the people of Odisha will decide about his successor.

Read More | VK Pandian is not my successor, says Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik

Meanwhile, several questions have been raised over Patnaik’s clarification on Pandian. Did Patnaik give this kind of statement as BJD is facing scathing attacks from the Opposition that Pandian has acquired the party and it is affecting the CM’s image? If Pandian is not Patnaik’s successor, why is he seen everywhere with the CM despite the presence of many senior leaders in the party?

BJP’s Attack

In response to Patnaik’s statement on Pandian, the state unit of the BJP slammed the CM and the ruling party.

BJP spokesperson, Anil Biswal asked, “If Pandian is not the successor of the CM, why Patnaik is contesting from Kantabanji too?”

“The Chief Minister told lies again. As the CM came to know that they would lose the election, he intensified the conspiracy further by telling lies again. If VK Pandian is not CM’s successor, why all the power was given to him? Why did he kill democracy in Odisha by initiating an unconstitutional provision named 5T? On whose interest, VK Pandian was only instated at the helm of the affairs in 5T? If Naveen Babu really wants the people should choose their successor, he should answer whether the people of Odisha had asked him to give Pandian all the power?” Biswal asked.

“Why was Naveen Babu silent when the Odia Ministers and MLAs had turned slaves and traffic police for VK Pandian? If Naveen Babu really believes in democracy, why all the power was given to only one person? If Naveen Babu respects the emotions of the Odia people, why didn’t even a single Odia become eligible for campaigning? Why no Odia leader is able to make entry into Naveen Niwas without permission from Pandian?” the saffron party leader further asked.

Also Read | 'Video of VK Pandian controlling hand movement of Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik' triggers outrage; CM Naveen responds

Responding to Patnaik’s statements, BJP National Vice-President Baijayant Panda said, “People have seen him (Pandian) holding the mic and prompting while the CM was giving speeches. People have seen him kicking the CM on stage. He has fully controlled the ruling party and the government. Everybody is watching how he has controlled the CM physically. People of Odisha are sure this time that if they vote for Naveen Babu, it will go to the non-Odia Tamilian who is controlling him.”

Political Analysts Respond

Reacting to Patnaik’s statement on Pandian, political experts are of the opinion that the CM has given this kind of statement to stop the discussions in Odisha that Pandian is being groomed as Naveen’s successor.

“Opposition parties have been launching a scathing attack on BJD by saying that Pandian is trying to hijack power in Odisha and he has kept the CM as hostage. Naveen has given this kind of statement to counter the issue raised by the Opposition parties to corner the ruling party,” said senior journalist Akshay Sahoo.

“Earlier, other senior BJD leaders used to be with Patnaik during various election campaigns. However, during the 2024 General Election, only Pandian is found with the CM as star campaigner of the party,” he added.

Meanwhile, in his response to the development, senior journalist Rajaram Satapathy said, “All the Opposition parties have targeted Pandian. BJD workers are also dismayed about the immense power given to Pandian. Under the circumstance, Pandian has become a liability for the party.”

“Naveen has realized that the Pandian factor is harming the party. Hence, he has given this kind of statement to hoodwink the people ahead of the last phase of the election in the State. Without the consent of Naveen, Pandian would not have been able to enjoy so much power,” he added.

Must Read | BJP urges Odisha Police DG to free Naveen Patnaik from the clutches of VK Pandian

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