Naveen Patnaik and VK Pandian : A Bond For The Ages

While the world is raving about the bond that Narendra Modi shares with his old pal Amit Shah, there is another such duo in politics that is equally formidable.

Naveen Patnaik Photo With Kartik Pandian
CM Naveen Patnaik with Kartik Pandian

To say that V Karthikeyan Pandian is a key member in Naveen Patnaik’s team of bureaucrats would be an understatement. The 2000 batch IAS officer has served as Patnaik’s private secretary since 2011. He deserves immense credit for BJD’s stellar performance in both 2014 and the 2019 elections. The ruling party, under the leadership of Patnaik and with the help of Pandian’s strategy, has stood strong even when the Modi wave has taken India by storm.

Despite BJD’s impressive record in Odisha, they too have gone through some tough times in the past decade, including senior ministers such as Jay Panda, Damodar Rout exiting the party, and in all such occasions, Pandian has been the go-to man for Patnaik. The BJD supremo places full faith in his confidante to provide the right advice at the right time.

The overwhelming success of KALIA scheme, millions of women being empowered through Mission Shakti, and the tens of other successful initiatives by the Odisha government is all down to proper execution and disbursal of responsibilities, another shining example of the bureaucrat championing the leader’s cause.

There have been several incidents where ministers within the party, as well as the opposition have tried to unsettle Pandian. In an incident that took place a year back, BJP activists vandalised the IAS officer’s house causing extensive damage to his property and personal belongings. Several false accusations have also been made, to the extent of blaming the secretary of ‘running the office’. However, all this has not stained the relationship between two of the most astute minds of Odisha – the perfect winning combination if there ever was one.

He has stood by Patnaik through a tough, long-drawn campaign and played a vital role in achieving success. Perhaps this speaks volumes about why the Chief Minister trusts him blindly and how Odisha has remained a final bastion in the East that has withstood the Modi wave time and again in spite of the manpower and resources deployed by the opposition in this campaign.

The pair have shared a very special relationship since Pandian joined the ship, and the bond keeps growing stronger. Pandian has stood by his boss through thick and thin. Together, the pair have taken Odisha to great heights. Like Patnaik, Pandian too has a quiet demeanour and prefers to stay away from the spotlight. He too believes in letting his work speak for himself. This time, yet again, the people have spoken in favour of the dynamic duo and Odisha looks forward to another 5 years of progress and glory.

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