Naveen Patnaik: Man of the Masses

Bhubaneswar: ChiefMinister Naveen Patnaik – thefather figure for more than fortyfive million Odias. He is a
formidable face of Indian polityand a quintessential leader, whohas dedicated his life for thedevelopment of Odisha and itspeople. While we pray for thewellbeing of this leader on thisbeautiful day, we would also diveinto the nuances that make himgreat and continues to serve asthe second longest serving chiefminister in India.There are very few politiciansin India who can match thestature of Chief Minister NaveenPatnaik. Known for his straightforward governance and politicalapproach, his leadership hasbrought a generationaltransformation for Odisha. He
has brought Odisha to aleadership position among thestates of India where others lookforward to it for guidance today.Over the decades, Naveencontinues to lead the statebringing glory in and every aspectof development be it economic,social, health, education, sportsor any other parameter. For himage is just only number.The soft-spoken, well-read,and the most cultured ChiefMinister of India just prefers towork behind the scenes rather
than seeking the limelight withrhetoric. Naveen is the mostsuccessful Chief Minister of thecountry in the last few decades.He has defied anti-incumbency,political adversaries, naturaldisasters, and public health criseswith remarkable resilience andefficiency. He belongs to a rarebreed of politicians for whomthere are no enemies but only
adversaries.What is the secret of hissuccess? How has he managed toretain the trust and support ofthe people of Odisha for the last25 years? What are hisachievements and challenges as aleader and a statesman?The answer lies in his uniquestyle of governance, whichcombines pragmatism, vision,inclusiveness, and innovation. Hehas focused on deliveringdevelopment, welfare, andempowerment to the people ofOdisha, especially the poor andthe women. He has also pursueda balanced and cooperativeapproach to the Centre-Staterelations, maintaining hisautonomy and identity whileseeking collaboration andassistance from the uniongovernment.The leadership of NaveenPatnaik has broughtmultipronged development to thestate of Odisha. Under hisleadership, Odisha hastransformed from a backward anddebt-ridden state to one of thefastest-growing and fiscallyprudent states in India. Odisha’sGross Domestic Product grew atan average annual rate of 8.23percent between 2003-04 and2019-20, higher than the nationalaverage of 7.15 percent. It is likelyto be more than 8.5 percent during

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