WHO is the most influential functionary after Naveen Patnaik in the Odisha government? It’s an open secret that Patnaik’s private secretary, V Karthikeyan Pandiyan, a 2000-batch IAS officer of the Odisha cadre, is the ‘Super Chief Minister’ of Odisha. Though he himself is from Tamil Nadu, his wife is an Odiya. It is said that he is more powerful than even the Chief Secretary of the state. He runs the state from his office on the third floor of the secretariat and even top officials find it difficult to get an audience. At one time, he was District Magistrate of Ganjam, in Hijli, Patnaik’s constituency and the most backward area of the state. A tenacious Karthikeyan turned it around into the best district of the state and since then, he has the eyes and ears of the CM. Due to his failing health, Patnaik leaves office by 6 pm and enjoys hearing music at home. But Karthikeyan keeps the state in order from his third floor office. Such is his halo that when Karthikeyan clashed with Patnaik’s favourite, Jay Panda, Member of Parliament, the CM favoured him over Panda.
Vol. 12, Issue 5, August 2018