Odisha bureaucrat’s dabble in politics whips up storm
Bhubaneswar: As interference of bureaucrats in the party affairs of the ruling-BJD is coming more and more under scanner amid allegations from politicians cutting across party lines, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik’s private secretary V Karthikeyan Pandian finds himself in the eye of the storm. After former MLA Ramaranjan Baliarsingh and BJD’s Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda, the Opposition party has also slammed Pandian over his dabble in politics.
Such has been the magnitude of allegations that the Tamil officer, is now being termed as the second power centre within the ruling BJD, a label which was given to late Pyarimohan Mohapatra. Former legislator Ramaranjan Baliarsingh, who recently quit BJD, targeting the bureaucrat again said that even though Naveen is the party president, Pandian is the working president and his excessive interference in violation of the service conduct rules will cost BJD dear.
Congress leader and opposition party chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati alleged that from politics to administration, Pandian’s interference is all pervasive.
From ticket distribution to collection of donation, Pandian is managing all the political affairs, felt BJP leader Pitambar Acharya.
“Pandian is an IAS officer and the private secretary of CM Naveen Patnaik. Will he decide the future of politicians? CM is the party president while Pandian is the working president of the party,” said Baliarsingh.
“Pandian is micro-managing BJD affairs,” said Bahinipati.
“Whenever anyone approaches CM Naveen, he redirects them saying, ask Pandian. This is the kind of governance which is prevalent in Odisha. It is not his duty to decide distribution of party tickets and collection of funds,” said Acharya.
A 2000-batch IAS officer, Pandian has been collector of various districts including Ganjam. He has been the private secretary of CM since May 2, 2011. Sources said that, Pandian’s role came to fore after late Pyarimohan Mohapatra’s failed ‘midnight coup’ attempt. Even in the 2014 general elections, Pandian reportedly played a key role in decisions pertaining to ticket distribution.
“People who are desperate make such allegations. Accusing a government officer is a sign of immaturity,” said ruling-BJD spokesperson, Rabi Narayan Nanda.
Pandian declined to comment on the matter.