Naveen Patnaik resigns as Odisha CM

Bhubaneswar, (Thestates.news) | Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief Naveen Patnaik formally submitted his resignation as the chief minister of Odisha to Governor Raghubar Das at Raj Bhavan in Bhubaneswar here on Wednesday.

With the resignation from the Chief Minister post, a long era of Naveen Patnaik, spanning over 27 years in Odisha politics, has come to an end. It was not a happy ending for the 78-year-old politician who took the mantle and entered politics in 1997 after the demise of his father, the legendary leader Biju Patnaik.

He lost the Kantabanji Assembly seat by a margin of over 16,000 votes to Laxman Bag of the BJP and scrapped through his traditional Hinjili Assembly seat by a paltry margin of 4636 votes.
In the 2019 election, he won the Hinjili seat with a margin of 60,160 votes, while in 2014, he registered a winning margin of 76,586 votes.

Naveen had won five times and was targeted to take on the mantle for the sixth time to create a history in Indian politics of becoming the longest serving Chief Minister to break the record of Pawan Kumar Chamling, who has served five consecutive terms as Chief Minister of Sikkim, completing a total period of more than 24 years of tenure—the highest so far.

In the 2024 election, however, the opposition BJP routed the ruling BJD, capturing 78 of the 147 Assembly seats, while the BJD, which had won 112 seats in the 2019 elections, managed to get only 51 seats, with several ministers and BJD heavyweights, losing the poll battle.

Political observers said Naveen’s steady fall in popularity is largely attributed to his own policy of marginalizing all senior leaders in the party. The worst time in his long political career came when he started managing the administration with his private secretary, V. K. Pandian, a non-Odia IAS officer from Tamil Nadu.

The Chief Minister’s office also came under public scrutiny amidst allegations of V. K. Pandian running the administration and party affairs with a vested group of bureaucrats.

Consequently, he became the out-and-out bounce for his own partymen and ministers, virtually isolating himself in Naveen Nivas, his official residence, and occasionally attending meetings through video conferencing.With a coterie controlling everything, public sentiments steadily mounted against him, creating the impression that the Chief Minister, whom Odisha has so much love for, is now trying to rule the state without Odia.

This became the main poll plank of the BJP, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and Assam Chief Minister Himant Biswa Sarma coming down heavily on Patnaik, accusing him of outsourcing his government to non-Odia babus, putting Odia’s pride at stake.The 2024 election saw the meteoric rise of the BJP to form the government for the first time in the political history of Odisha and the crumbling of the BJD bastion in the state after a long 24 years.

Of course, the BJP had joined the coalition government with the BJD for nine years in two terms from 2000 to 2009, when Naveen Patnaik snapped the alliance with the BJP and decided that that BJD would go alone, maintaining an equal distance from both the BJP and the Congress.

After winning 20 Lok Sabha seats, Odisha saw a reverse repetition of history this time. In the 2014 elections, the BJD won 20 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats, and one went to Congress. This time the BJP made BJD draw blank by capturing 20 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats while one went to Congress. (UNI)