Bhubaneswar: Naveen, who turned 74 today, is undoubtedly the invincible leader in Indian politics. The longest serving chief minister of the state ventured into politics two years after his father Bijayananda aka Biju Patnaik’s demise in 1997.
Often termed as a reluctant politician, Biju Janata Dal president and Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has earned more friends than political bete noires for his vision and developmental politics.
The state was staring at political instability and super cyclone had brought down the state to ruins. Patnaik helmed the affairs as chief minister when the coffers were bleeding. Given the terrible state of affairs, Patnaik drew a long-term strategy to position the state from a Bimaru state to a progressive one.
With the people-friendly policies, often misconstrued as vote bank politics, Patnaik won hearts across age groups.
The Re 1-a-kg was a game changer towards poverty alleviation. People living below poverty line were distributed subsidized foodgrains for sustenance.
During his reign of nearly two decades, the state not only tackled natural calamities successfully but also became a case study for others.
Patnaik set the ball rolling by announcing reservation for women in assembly and Lok Sabha polls. The micro loans to women self help groups (SHGs) is another step towards women empowerment.
Known for its out of the box thinking, Naveen government devised trade policy to attract investors. Odisha is now most favoured destination for investors. It has received investment intent from companies in manufacturing, food processing, metals and mining among other sectors.
This apart, India’s best kept secret — Odisha — is witnessing significant footfall of national and international tourists. The representatives are organising roadshows and fairs globally to showcase it’s tourism potential.
The state has enormous talent in sports. But due to lack of patronage, the talents hardly got exposure and heights. Naveen Patnaik’s policies have made it the sports capital of India. Many national and international events are being successfully held in the state without any fuss.
Patnaik has maintained a clean image in public life for his minimalist lifestyle. Not a speck of dirt has affected the image of the five-time chief minister. To ensure proper delivery of services and probity, Patnaik launched 5T initiatives. Healthcare being the prime focus is all set to reach the populace effectively.
While opposition resort to brickbats over it’s policies, the state’s economic growth has surpassed national average. The other growth indicators too have bettered it’s figures, reflecting the development trajectory.
The developmental politics has silenced his detractors and won him admirers across party lines. The repeated electoral success over the years has only made him invincible.