Naveen Patnaik, the founder of Biju Janata Dal (BJD), is currently the chief minister of Odisha. The son of former CM Biju Patnaik, Naveen is the only CM who does not speak the language of the state. He is in his fourth term at the helm of the state government.
Initially seen as a reluctant heir to his father’s illustrious political career, Naveen returned to Odisha after Biju Patnaik’s death in 1997 and founded the BJD. Subsequently, he was elected to the 11th Lok Sabha from Aska Parliamentary constituency in the by-elections and became a member of the Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Steel and Mines, a member of the Standing Committee on Commerce, and a Member of the Library Committee of Parliament. Later, he represented he same seat in the 12th Lok Sabha and was subsequently made the Union minister for mines in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
BJD allied with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Odisha Assembly elections in 2000, following which Naveen Patnaik became CM for the first time. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance lost the Lok Sabha elections in 2004. However, the coalition led by Naveen Patnaik won the state legislative elections and he became CM for a second time.
BJD quit the NDA in 2009 but won a huge victory in the Assembly polls that year. Patnaik became CM for a fourth time in 2014.
The BJD chief has said that the party would play an important role in government formation after the Lok Sabha elections 2019, as no party would win a clear majority. Odisha is also going to state polls along with the general election. Reportedly, he is making an effort to battle anti-incumbency of the past four terms by banking on policies that aid women. Will the suave author-turned-politician write another chapter under his name? It will be interesting to watch.