Will Naveen Pattnaik launch his nephew Arun in Odisha politics ?

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Bhubaneswar: After the recent landslide victory in the Odisha Legislative Assembly Elections, the Biju Janata Dal Chief Naveen Pattnaik has one again proved his command over the State Politics. Despite, Modi wave Naveen has managed to come up for the 5th time in a row even with a bigger mandate winning 112 seats out of total 146 Assembly constituencies.

However, though Naveen has proved his unmatched leadership over his party and the state politics, one question has remained unanswered for the last few years- “Who is next after Naveen ?”

The Answer may lies in the question- who will replace him at his traditional Hinjili Seat, if he decides to vacate it? The CM-designate Naveen Pattaik has for the first time fought and won in two seats-Hinjili in the South Odisha and Bijepur in the Western Odisha and there are indications that he may vacate Hinjili seat.

According to Odisha based news portal ‘Odishabytes’, Naveen would prefer Bijepur over Hinjili, which he has represented four times since 2000 and may launch his nephew Arun Patnaik from Hinjili.

It seems to have been a well-calibrated political move to pave the way for the entry of Naveen’s nephew Arun Patnaik into politics. Arun, who for quite some time is being speculated by a section of the media as Naveen’s heir apparent, will contest the
by-poll from Hinjili, sources confided.

Arun is the son of Naveen’s elder brother and industrialist Prem Patnaik and considering no other grandchild of Biju Patnaik is keen to take the political plunge, the onus might fall on him to carry the legacy forward.

Naveen had nothing to do with politics when he made his debut by contesting the Aska by-poll in 1997 following the death of his legendary father Biju Patnaik. BJD sources said plans are afoot to introduce Arun to politics through the Hinjili route as it is considered a safe seat. Hinjili, incidentally, is part of Aska parliamentary constituency.

Other than making occasional appearances in the public, Arun has thus far maintained distance from politics and usually make low-key visits to the state. Party insiders believe it is imperative to groom someone from the Biju Patnaik family well in advance so that the message is loud and clear. “One may like it or not, a regional party is centred on a leader or his family. When Biju babu died there was a leadership crisis in Odisha unit of Janata Dal and Naveen babu took over the reins,” a BJD leader pointed out.

“The party bosses possibly want to give the next generation leader sufficient time to prepare so that he is ready to don the mantle as and when the need arises,” the
leader added.

 

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