Vikash Sharma

In the eye of a storm following the drubbing defeat of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the recently concluded 2024 elections, bureaucrat-turned-politician VK Pandian on Sunday announced his retirement from active politics.

Pandian announced this decision in a video statement. The development came a day after BJD president Naveen Patnaik had categorically stated that VK Pandian was not his successor.

Moreover, Patnaik yesterday also termed the ongoing criticisms against Pandian as unfortunate.

Prior to the 2024 elections, VK Pandian had announced that he would quit active politics if Naveen Patnaik failed to take oath as Chief Minister for the sixth time.

It is said that Pandian was in the eye of the target within the BJD after the party's poll debacle. Recently, youth BJD leaders had openly raised slogans against Pandian and some other senior leaders during a meeting convened at Sankha Bhawan in Bhubaneswar.

Senior journalist Prasanna Mohanty said, "It is an end to a big drama in Odisha politics and within BJD. Finally, VK Pandian has announced his retirement from politics. He had become the most powerful within six months in BJD. Pandian did not have any other option than to quit BJD. Though BJD president tried to give Pandian a clean chit, it appeared that he was reading a written script. Pandian has realised that Odisha is no longer safe for him."

Mohanty said that around 80 to 90 percent of people in Odisha are against Pandian. They could not express their voices in the past due to various reasons. Now when the party has been thrown out of power, senior leaders are now coming forward and venting out their anger against Pandian.

"It appears that there was pressure on Pandian even though the BJD president tried to give him a clean chit," said Mohanty.

In his video statement, Pandian said, "My aim to join politics was to assist Naveen babu and now consciously I decide to withdraw from active politics. I am sorry if I have hurt anyone in this journey. I am sorry if this campaign narrative against me has had a part to play with BJD's loss. I appologise to the entire Biju Parivar."

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