Naveen @74: Few Milestones To Watch

16 October 2019


Bhubaneswar: As Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik turns 74 today, his journey from a reticent writer to a successful politician, a Chief Minister in reign for the fifth term is no mean achievement.

Here are the milestones to watch.

1997: This year was the turning point in Naveen Patnaik's life and career with the demise of his legendary father Biju Patnaik on April 17, at the age of 81.

Patnaik entered politics by joining the erstwhile Janata Dal his late father’s party and later got elected as a member to the 11th Lok Sabha in the by-election from Aska Parliamentary Constituency which had fallen vacant with the demise of his father.

This very year on 26 December, he founded the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), named after his father.

1998:  Along with its political ally BJP, BJD did well and Naveen Patnaik was elected to the 12th Lok Sabha again from the Aska Parliamentary Constituency. Patnaik joined former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet as Union Minister of Mines and served the post for another two years.

2000: Naveen Patnaik was elected as the Odisha Chief Minister for the first time in March. Patnaik inherited a State left battered by the 1999 Super Cyclone and an equally shattered economy with the State exchequer being unable to meet the salary demand of State government employees.

2001: Naveen Patnaik launched Mission Shakti, Odisha's flagship self-help group (SHG) programme designed to empower women.

Mission Shakti is one among the largest networks of women in India. It has not only changed the lives of lakhs of women at the grassroots but has also benefitted lakhs of families in Odisha.

2004: Though BJP led NDA lost the general elections the coalition led by Naveen Patnaik emerged victorious in the state legislative elections and he continued as the Chief Minister.

2009: In the run-up to the polls for the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly of Odisha in 2009, BJD walked out of the NDA after severing ties with the BJP. Naveen did it after severely criticizing BJP's involvement in Kandhamal anti-Christian riots during 2008. The BJD won a resounding victory in both the Vidhan Sabha as well as the Lok Sabha elections in 2009, winning 14 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats and 103 of the 147 assembly seats and was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Odisha on 21 May 2009 for the third consecutive term.

2013: On October 12, Cyclone Phailin lashed the State's coast with winds of 220-250 kmph, but the damage was minimized through Mission Zero Casualty, which included the evacuation of 983,642 people in 36 hours. In comparison with the 1999 cyclone in which 12,642 people had died, the number of deaths was down to 21. The government's efforts were given a thumbs-up by both the United Nations and the World Bank, making it a rare example of effective disaster management in a country with an abysmal track record of dealing with natural calamities.

2014: Naveen Patnaik won a huge victory in both the 2014 general elections and the Assembly elections in 2014. Patnaik's BJD secured 20 out of the 21 Lok Sabha seats of Odisha and 117 of the 147 Odisha Vidhan Sabha seats.

2017: Naveen Patnaik received kudos for successfully hosting 2017 Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar.

2018: Naveen got worldwide praise for Odisha government’s successful hosting of Men's Hockey World Cup 2018 in Bhubaneswar.

2019: On January 25 Naveen Patnaik launched the game-changer direct-benefit transfer scheme for farmers and landless workers named as KALIA (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation) 

2019: On March 10, Naveen Patnaik announced 33 per cent quota for women in the allocation of Lok Sabha tickets of BJD.

2019: Despite a strong BJP wave across the country, the Biju Janata Dal, under the leadership of Naveen Patnaik won as many as 112 seats out of 146 in the Legislative Assembly of Odisha and 12 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats in 2019 general elections.