Naveen Patnaik is the 14th and incumbent Chief Minister of Odisha. He is the founding chief of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD). A man known for his clean politics, Naveen Patnaik is among the most popular chief minister of the state. He has been the CM of Odisha for three consecutive times. Patnaik has also written three books.
Early Life and Education of Naveen Patnaik
Naveen Patnaik was born on 16 October, 1946 to former chief minister of Odisha, Biju Patnaik and his wife Gyan Patnaik at Anand Bhawan in Cuttuck. Patnaik was educated at St. Joseph's Convent in Cuttuck, though not for long. He then moved out of Cuttuck and attended the Welhams Boys School and Doon School in Dehradun and Lawrence School, Sanawar. He attained his B.A. degree from Kirori Mal College of Delhi University.
Political Career of Naveen Patnaik
Despite coming from a political family, Naveen Patnaik stayed away from active politics for most of his life. It was only after his father Biju Patnaik passed away in 1997 that Naveen Patnaik finally had to follow his father's path and join active politics. Naveen Patnaik was elected to the 11th Lok Sabha from Aska Parliamentary Constituency in the by-elections. He became a member of the Consultative Committee of Ministry of Steel & Mines, Member of Standing Committee on Commerce, and Member, Library Committee of Parliament.
The very next year, in 1998, Naveen Patnaik went on to found a party of his own called Biju Janata Dal (BJD). Along with its political ally BJP, BJD did well and Patnaik was elected to the 12th Lok Sabha again from the Aska Parliamentary Constituency. Patnaik was handed the portfolio of the Union Minister of Mines in the cabinet of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and served the post for another two years before he was finally elected as the Odisha Chief Minister for the first time in March 2000.
During his first stint as the state's CM, Naveen Patnaik followed clean politics and did not hesitate to axe the corrupt bureaucrats and political stalwarts alike. This resulted in a steep rise in Patnaik's popularity amongst the masses. Naveen Patnaik again went on to be appointed as the Chief Minister of the state for the second time in 2004 when the alliance of BJD and BJP won the state legislative Assembly elections.
But in his second term as the CM, Naveen Patnaik had had to face a tough test. After the 2007-08 communal riots in the Kandhamal district of Odisha, the differences between the BJD and the BJP became apparent and started to widen further. It was alleged that the massacre was an act of Hindu extremist groups like the RSS and Bajrang Dal etc.
In the wake of the 2009 Parliamentary elections and Odisha Assembly elections, BJD joined the ranks of the emergent Third Front led largely by the leftist parties. Though, he was accused by the BJP of betraying them, Naveen Patnaik made a statement saying that his alliance with the BJP was a mistake.
Naveen Patnaik and his BJD went onto registering a resounding victory in both Parliamentary as well as in Assembly elections 2009. The BJD took hold of 14 out of 21 Parliamentary seats of the state and 103 of 147 Odisha assembly seats. Consequently, Naveen Patnaik was elected to head the state government for a third consecutive time.
2014 proved to be a repeat of the 2009 for BJD in both the Parliamentary and Assembly elections. But it registered even better numbers this time around. Naveen Patnaik's BJD marginally missed out on registering the perfect score having won 20 of 21 Lok Sabha and 117 of 147 assembly seats.
Naveen Patnaik Awards and Recognitions
Naveen Patnaik was rated the Second best Chief Minister of India by NDTV Opinion Poll in 2010.
Naveen Patnaik was hailed as the Most Popular Chief Minister of India by India Today-ORG-Marg Mood of the Nation Poll in 2010.
Naveen Patnaik was honoured by the United Nations (UN) for evacuating nearly a million people ahead of tropical storm, Cyclone Phailin that hit coastal Odisha in October 2013.