Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s former chief secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik Friday joined the Congress in New Delhi and vowed to work for the “re-establishment” of democracy in the state.
Patnaik, who retired in 2013, joined the grand old party in the presence of All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary KC Venugopal, Odisha Congress in-charge A Chellakumar and the party’s state unit president Sarat Pattanayak.
He also met AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge in the national capital.
“I have joined politics with an aim to cleanse the system in Odisha, where people are currently feeling helpless under the prevailing governance model,” Patnaik told reporters.
“At present, a peculiar situation prevails in the state… People do not know who to approach in times of need with MLAs and ministers not able to resolve their issues,” he said.
The former IAS officer also said that he would not hesitate to contest elections in 2024.
“I will work to end misrule and re-establish democracy in Odisha,” he stated.
Speculation was rife that the former chief secretary will join the ruling BJD, given his close proximity with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, but he chose to become a member of the Congress.
Chella Kumar noted that Patnaik, with his “vast experiences in public life”, will strengthen the party.
The Odisha Congress chief also said that Patnaik joining the Congress will infuse new energy and enthusiasm in the party’s rank and file.
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