VK Pandian, Appointed Chairman of 5T in Cabinet Minister Rank

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Close Aide of Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, VK Pandian, Appointed Chairman of 5T in Cabinet Minister Rank 

VK Pandian appointed

VK Pandian, a close aide of Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, has taken voluntary retirement from his role as the private secretary to the Chief Minister, solidifying speculations about his transition to a full-time political role. In less than 24 hours after his resignation, V K Pandian was appointed as the Chairman of 5T (Transformation and Initiatives) and Nabin Odisha, with the rank of a Cabinet Minister. He will work directly under the Chief Minister. While the appointment doesn't directly indicate his entry into politics, there is ongoing speculation about his future political involvement.

VK Pandian, who also served as the 5T Secretary to the State Government, had a prominent role in the Naveen Patnaik government, being regarded as the representative of the Chief Minister. He became more visible after the 2019 elections, taking on the role of Naveen Patnaik's political strategist with significant influence over government and BJD politics. Pandian played a crucial part in implementing transformational initiatives in government departments, including major projects such as the Sri Jagannath Heritage Corridor, temple redevelopments, educational and health sector initiatives, and rural and urban transformation. 

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Pandian, a 2000-batch IAS officer of the Odisha cadre, began his career as a sub-collector and gradually rose through the ranks, with postings in districts like Mayurbhanj and Ganjam, where he developed a close relationship with the Chief Minister. He joined the Chief Minister's Office in 2011, serving as Patnaik's private secretary.

Although Pandian's political activities faced criticism from the opposition BJP and Congress, with calls for him to officially join the BJD, Naveen Patnaik clarified that Pandian was his representative, sent to address public grievances and issues at their doorsteps.

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