Adding another feather to his cap, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) president and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday became the second longest-serving Chief Minister in India.
He broke the record set by former West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu on Sunday after completing 23 years and 139 days as Chief Minister of Odisha.
Jyoti Basu served as the Chief Minister of West Bengal from June 21, 1977 to November 5, 2000, which comes to 23 years, 138 days.
Pawan Kumar Chamling, the former Chief Minister of Sikkim, is the longest-serving Chief Minister after independence. Chamling served as CM of Sikkim from December 12, 1994 to May 27, 2019. Chamling held the position for an impressive 24 years and 166 days. Basu, who was the longest serving Chief Minister in India until Chamling surpassed him in 2018, now comes to third position in the list.
Naveen Patnaik is also the third Chief Minister after Pawan Chamling and Jyoti Basu to win five consecutive terms as CM.
“Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has surpassed late Jyoti Basu to set the record. It is a matter of pride for all of us. I am sure he will break the record of another person after winning the 2024 election for the sixth consecutive time,” said BJD MLA Raj Kishore Das.
Congratulating the Chief Minister on Twitter, senior BJD leader and Rajya Sabha MP Manas Mangaraj said, “A towering personality full of simplicity, humble and always down to earth yet strong and decisive leader, our Hon’ble @CMO_Odisha took charge as the Chief Minister of #Odisha on 5th March 2000 and continues to lead the State.”
During these 23 years of leadership, Patnaik has brought revolutionary changes in the fields of health, education, economy and job opportunities in the state, he said.
He was born on October 16, 1946 to Biju Patnaik, former Chief Minister of Odisha, and his wife Gyan Patnaik. Lovingly called ‘Pappu’ by his family and childhood friends, Patnaik entered politics following the demise of his father and freedom fighter Biju Patnaik.
Despite being from an illustrious political family, he had for the most part of his early life remained away from politics. But after the demise of his legendary father, he entered politics in 1997 and was elected as a member to the 11th Lok Sabha in the by-election from Aska parliamentary constituency in Odisha. Since then, he has never looked back and never tasted electoral defeat, which is rare in Indian politics.
A year later, the Janata Dal split and he founded the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on his father’s name. The BJD later in alliance with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) performed well in the poll. After winning the Lok Sabha polls in 1998 and 1999, Patnaik became the Union Minister for Steel and Mines in the cabinet of the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Later, he returned to the state to contest the Assembly elections in alliance with the BJP in 2000. After winning the Assembly polls with a majority, Naveen resigned from the union cabinet and was unanimously elected as the leader of the alliance and was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Odisha on March 5, 2000.
The BJP led NDA lost the Lok Sabha elections in 2004, however the coalition led by Naveen Patnaik emerged victorious in the state legislative elections and he continued as the Chief Minister.
However, in 2009 Naveen Patnaik’s BJD walked out of the NDA after severing ties with the BJP. Patnaik separated himself from the NDA after receiving criticism for the Kandhamal riots during 2007.
In 2009, the BJD won 14 out of the 21 Lok Sabha seats of the state and 103 of the 147 assembly seats. Patnaik was sworn in as the Chief Minister for the third consecutive term.
Since 2009, the BJD alone won all three Assembly elections in the state with a thumping majority. The BJD won the Assembly polls in 2014 and 2019 and Patnaik has remained unbeatable in Odisha till now.
He took office as Chief Minister of Odisha in 2000 when the state was devastated by a super cyclone in 1999 and the treasury was empty. He made the state a role model in disaster management, financial surplus status with single-minded devotion and commitment.
Patnaik was always focused on shelter security, food security, health security and social security for the people of Odisha as well as expediting the progress of industry and agriculture.
The United Nations felicitated him for his efficient handling of disaster management in the aftermath of Cyclone Phailin with zero casualty. During the Covid-19 pandemic, when the country needed oxygen, it was Odisha that provided oxygen to various states in India.
When the nation did not have a sponsor for the men’s and women’s hockey teams, it was Naveen Patnaik, who came forward to sponsor both the teams which brought laurels to the country. Under his leadership, Odisha, particularly Bhubaneswar, is being seen as the sports capital of India.
His 5T mantra of teamwork, technology, transparency and time leading to transformation has worked wonders at the grassroots in Odisha by bringing a silent revolution in the areas of health, education, public governance and cultural development of Odisha.
* Naveen Patnaik started his political career in 1997
* Elected to Lok Sabha from Aska constituency in the by-poll following the demise of his father Biju Patnaik in 1997
* Re-elected to the LS in 1998 & 1999
* Union Minister for Steel and Mines, March 19, 1998 to March 4, 2000
* Formed Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on December 26, 1997
* Elected to Odisha Assembly — 2000, 2004, 2009, 2014, 2019
* Sworn in as CM of Odisha — 2000, 2004, 2009, 2014, 2019