Will he do it or not? That is now not the query.
Authorities staff, leaders of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and repair associations lined up at Naveen Niwas, the residence of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, to congratulate his long-time non-public secretary VK Pandian after his new task.
The Tamil Nadu-born bureaucrat resigned final month voluntarily and took on a brand new position as a minister, ending hypothesis that he needed to take a extra formal position in electoral politics.
Pandian is now the top of the state authorities 5T (Good Governance Mannequin) and ‘Ama Odisha, Nabin Odisha’ (Odisha, New Odisha), reporting to Patnaik, taking him to the highest publish within the Chief Minister’s Workplace (CMO).
Observers see a chronology within the 2,000-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer’s expertise with politics.
For the previous six months till September, Pandian toured the state as 5T secretary, utilizing state government-sponsored helicopters, to succeed in out to folks. The 5T initiative is a complete program aimed toward finishing initiatives shortly.
Pandian’s spherical collected 57,085 complaints, particularly from rural Odisha, which is dwelling to about 80 % of the state’s inhabitants. The chief advertising and marketing officer mentioned 65.71 per cent of the grievances have been addressed. He additionally reviewed points associated to ingesting water and electrical energy.
A examine performed by the Affiliation for Democratic Reforms forward of the 2019 elections discovered that ingesting water (43 per cent), water for agriculture (43 per cent) and bettering employment alternatives (41 per cent) have been the highest three priorities for voters in rural Odisha.
“From water provide to agriculture and street connectivity, the federal government is specializing in rural Odisha, which is a crucial vote base for the ruling occasion,” mentioned Brahmananda Satpathy, a eminent political science professor.
Within the 2022 three-tier panchayat elections, the BJP gained 766 of the 852 zilla parishad seats, and shaped councils in all 30 districts.
“Pandian’s visits signaled his shut affiliation with the prime minister and his emergence as a significant middle of energy,” mentioned Prasanna Mishra, a retired IAS officer who writes on social and financial points.
Media stories recommend that Pandian’s bureaucrat spouse, Sujata R Karthikeyan, who heads the Mission Shakti division, has additionally sought voluntary retirement, sparking hypothesis of her becoming a member of politics.
Beneath the Mission Shakti programme, over 7 million girls have shaped over 600,000 self-help teams (SHGs), which can also be a significant vote financial institution for the BJD. The state gives interest-free loans of as much as Rs 5 lakh to SHGs. The Finances 2023-24 proposed creating employment alternatives value Rs 10,000 crore to SHGs in 5 years to remodel them into small and medium enterprises. Final month, Patnaik launched the Mission Shakti Scooter Yojna, which gives 200,000 girls with interest-free loans of as much as Rs 1 lakh to purchase two-wheelers.
Nonetheless, Congress occasion leader-turned-leader Bijay Patnaik dismissed the scheme as a mere political gimmick. The state goes to the polls coinciding with the Lok Sabha elections in Could subsequent yr.
In October, the federal government launched the Rs 4,000-crore Nabin Odisha scheme with the emblem containing a ‘conch’, which by the way is the image of the BJD occasion. The programme, with Pandian on the helm of affairs, is a mannequin for the federal government’s Rs 1,250-crore ‘Ama Gaon, Ama Bikash’ (Our Village, Our Growth) initiative, launched in 2018-19, which helped the occasion mobilize its votes. Financial institution within the final normal elections. Every panchayat will get Rs 50 lakh help to keep up locations of worship, improve websites of historic significance, enhance rural infrastructure and digital entry.
Opposition leaders described the scheme as a marketing campaign financing ploy.
In the meantime, BJP MP and former IAS officer Aparajita Sarangi informed reporters: “Pandian acquired the rank of cupboard minister due to a comfortable touchdown in politics.”
“Pandian’s acceptance among the many folks signifies that he’s there to complete Patnaik’s unfinished agenda,” Satpathi mentioned.
Now that there was now not any burden to work as a authorities worker, Mishra noticed Patnaik’s rising dependence on Pandian in his occasion’s political affairs.
Pandian additionally acquired consideration from his well-wishers in Tamil Nadu. Actor Kamal Haasan wrote on Such an incredible workforce on the helm of state affairs. I want you all the very best as Chairman of 5T Initiative and Nabin Odisha.
(Tags for translation)Odisha