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Odisha CM Denies VK Pandian as Successor, Asserts Public Decision on Future Leadership

Bhubaneswar: In a candid interview with ANI, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik dispelled speculation regarding VK Pandian being his successor, firmly stating that the decision on his successor lies with the people of Odisha.

During the exclusive interview, CM Patnaik addressed longstanding rumors and opposition claims, asserting, “VK Pandian is not my successor. The people of Odisha will decide about my successor.” This statement comes amidst allegations from opposition parties and former members of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) that Pandian, an influential figure within the party, has been making decisions on behalf of the Chief Minister. Patnaik dismissed these allegations as baseless, remarking, “This is ridiculous and I have said it often before, this is an old allegation and it holds no weight.”

VK Pandian, a former IAS officer turned BJD’s star campaigner, has often been seen as a potential successor due to his significant influence and close association with the Chief Minister. However, Patnaik clarified that while Pandian embodies his values, he does not see himself as Patnaik’s successor. “Pandian considers himself as a successor to my values, similar to every youth in Odisha,” Patnaik explained.

Pandian, widely regarded as the second-most influential person in the BJD after Patnaik, has played a crucial role as the party’s main election strategist, making him a focal point for opposition criticism.

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