Is CM Naveen’s No To ‘Dynasty Rule’ Simply Part Of Shrewd Politics?

If Naveen remains firm on his words that no one from his family will replace him, will people accept anyone outside the 'Biju Pariwar' to helm the BJD?

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik may not have set his succession process in motion owing to which he blatantly rejected the possibility of any member of his family joining politics on Monday, but the possibility of his nephew Arun Patnaik replacing the five-time Odisha CM cannot be ruled out.

For the last few months, speculations were rife that Naveen’s nephew Arun Patnaik will replace Naveen. Rumours were also making rounds that Naveen, who has won two Assembly seats in the 2019 polls- Bijepur and Hinjili, would leave the Hinjili seat and field his nephew from the constituency marking Arun’s entry to Odisha politics.

However, in an interview with India Today on Monday, Naveen denied dynastic politics but said that his successor will be from the BJD itself and he is confident that the party will continue to do well. If this is to be believed, who could it be from the BJD?

It is believed that if Naveen calls it quits without a suitable successor, the party may suffer from existential crisis as people in Odisha vote in the name and identity of Naveen. The way BJP candidates get votes in the name of Modi, BJD candidates’ winnability in Odisha is largely dependent on Naveen’s charisma. So, people may find it difficult to accept someone outside the ‘Biju Pariwar’. And in that case, the BJD might be forced to project someone like Arun to repose people’s faith on the party, believe political experts.

When Arun Patnaik had visited the State in January 2015, while speaking to the media on his political aspirations, he had said: “I have no such intention at the moment.” Arun’s answer simply doesn’t deny the possibility of him joining politics, rather he might not have found the time appropriate then to disclose the cards.

On Naveen’s no family politics statement, BJD vice-president Prasanna Acharya said, “People of Odisha know Naveen Babu very well and in the same manner, he (Naveen Patnaik) is aware of their feelings, sentiments and interests. So, whatever he does or says is backed by a thorough study.”

When BJD MLA Usha Debi was asked if she would support Naveen’s successor, the legislator said that she has full faith in Naveen and whatever he says, she will abide by it. “As I said, whatever he (Naveen) says, we will do that,” she added.

Naveen Babu will not bring his family members to politics to avoid the tag of dynastic politics and so he has left the decision with the party members, said senior journalist, Rabi Das.