Former IAS officer VK Pandian Steps into Politics with New Role


Former IAS officer VK Pandian Steps into Politics with New Role 

Former IAS officer VK Pandian

Bhubaneswar: 24/10/2023, After voluntarily retiring, former IAS officer and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's private secretary, VK Pandian, has been appointed as the chairman of 5T (transformational initiatives) and Nabin Odisha, holding the rank of a cabinet minister. In this new role, Pandian will work directly under the chief minister, as specified by a notification from the general administration and public grievance department.

There is speculation in political circles regarding former IAS officer VK Pandian's potential political role. While the opposition parties, BJP and Congress, view this appointment as a political move granting him more power within the government and the ruling BJD party, the BJD argues that it will expedite the state's development. 

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This appointment has seemingly disarmed the opposition, as both the BJP and Congress believe that Pandian can now venture into politics. His extensive district tours had previously provoked political reactions, with both parties urging him to resign from the IAS and join politics.

State BJP president Manmohan Samal expressed no objections to Pandian's entry into politics, stating that it's not unusual for a retired IAS officer to do so. He noted that the BJP opposed the system, not the person, and Pandian is welcome to enter politics.

Leader of the Congress Legislature Party, Narasingh Mishra, acknowledged the legality of Pandian's appointment but questioned the decision-making process. He mentioned that the chief minister can take such decisions, but it ideally should have involved the cabinet.

However, OPCC president Sarat Pattanayak alleged that the rapid acceptance of former IAS officer VK Pandian's voluntary retirement exposed a tacit understanding between BJD and BJP.

Former finance minister and senior BJD leader Shashi Bhusan Behera welcomed Pandian's appointment, expecting it to boost the state's development.

VK Pandian had taken voluntary retirement from government service on Monday, a request approved by the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India, in just three days.

Former IAS officer VK Pandian had been a pivotal figure in the Naveen Patnaik government, overseeing significant transformational initiatives across various government departments. He assumed the role of 5T Initiatives secretary in 2019 and played a crucial role in projects like the Sri Jagannath Heritage Corridor, temple redevelopments, education programs, health sector initiatives, and rural and urban development.

Beginning his bureaucratic career in 2002 as the sub-collector of Dharmagarh in Kalahandi district. Former IAS officer VK Pandian went on to serve in various administrative roles before joining the Chief Minister's Office in 2011, where he remained the private secretary to the chief minister until his voluntary retirement.

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