Assembly Election 2019: Naveen Patnaik Raring For Record Fifth Term Amid Rumours, Attacks

Naveen Patnaik contested from two seats for the first time in this assembly election - Hinjili, his home turf in south Odisha from where he has been winning since 2000, and Bijepur in west Odisha.

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Assembly Election 2019: Naveen Patnaik Raring For Record Fifth Term Amid Rumours, Attacks

Naveen Patnaik has gained popularity as a clean and efficient administrator.


New Delhi: 

Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha, is seeking a record fifth term in office as his party, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), faces an aggressive BJP - a former ally - which has made inroads into the coastal state. The 72-year-old, one of India's longest-serving chief ministers, is confident, having even invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his swearing-ceremony as the state was in the middle of voting for both the national and assembly elections.

Mr Patnaik contested from two seats for the first time in this assembly election - Hinjili, his home turf in south Odisha from where he has been winning since 2000, and Bijepur in west Odisha.

In the run-up to the elections, Mr Patnaik battled raging rumours over his health; the Prime Minister, at a public meeting in the state, said the Odisha government was taking "10 minutes to walk 10 steps" in an apparent dig at the Chief Minister.

A fitness video - the septuagenarian was seen doing cardio, lifting weights - was seen as the mild-mannered Chief Minister's attempt to silence opponents and detractors as he signed off with a "getting ready to fight for the people of Odisha" message at the end of the video.

The Chief Minister, once a part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance between 1998 and 2009, maintains that he's "equidistant" from that party as well as the Congress. Claiming that no party will get a majority in the national elections, Mr Patnaik has said that he will support any party or coalition that supports the development of Odisha, especially in the aftermath of the monster cyclone Fani that killed 64 people and left a trail of destruction in the state.

Unlike some of his counterparts - former and present - in other states, Naveen Babu, as he is fondly called, has said that he has no "national ambitions" and is content to "stay in Odisha".

The son of former chief minister and iconic leader Biju Patnaik, Naveen Patnaik formed the Biju Janata Dal after quitting the Janata Dal in 1997.

He was elected to Parliament from the Aska constituency - the seat held by his father - in 1997 and represented it till 2000. He also served as Union Minister of Mines in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, before resigning and taking oath as Chief Minister after his party and the BJP won the assembly elections in Odisha.

The Doon School-educated Chief Minister, who spent much of his adult life away from Odisha, has been often been derided over his lack of fluency in the Odia language.

But over the last two decades, the leader, always seen in is trademark crisp white kurta-pyjama, has gained popularity as a clean and efficient administrator.

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