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Naveen Patnaik’s 24-Year WFH A Headache For New Odisha Government


Mr Patnaik, after being sworn in as chief minister in 2000, opted to work from his own residence.

Bhubaneswar:

A search is underway not just for the next Odisha chief Minister but also for a residence for the new leader. In his 24-year tenure as the head of the state’s government, Naveen Patnaik operated from his personal home, Naveen Niwas, which effectively served as the Chief Minister’s residence since he took office.

Mr Patnaik, after being sworn in as chief minister in 2000, opted to work from his own residence rather than moving into a government-allocated house. This decision set a unique precedent in the state’s political history. For nearly a quarter-century, all official and administrative work was conducted from Naveen Niwas – a house built by his father and former chief minister Biju Patnaik. 

With the BJP’s impending announcement of a new Chief Minister, the state’s administration has intensified its efforts to locate a suitable official residence. A senior government official stated that several vacant quarters, including the current Chief Minister’s Grievance Cell, have been shortlisted for consideration. However, the transition will not be immediate. Once a quarter is selected, it will undergo necessary renovations and installation of facilities.

In the interim, the state administration is planning to prepare a suite in the State Guest House to temporarily accommodate the new Chief Minister. 

Earlier, former chief ministers including Hemananda Biswal and Janaki Ballabh Patnaik, operated from a single-storeyed building near Bhubaneswar Club on a road connecting Capital Hospital with AG Square. After JB Patnaik was reelected in 1995, the Chief Minister’s Office was shifted to a two-storeyed building which is the current Chief Minister’s Grievance Cell. This structure was also used as the official residence of Giridhar Gamang.

The Patnaik family’s original bungalow is in Cuttack where the three children of Biju Patnaik – Prem, Gita and Naveen – were born. For the last five decades, the bungalow, called Anand Bhavan, has been managed by a caretaker. This arrangement began when the Biju Patnaik moved to Bhubaneswar after building Naveen Niwas in the new capital. The bungalow now functions as a museum. Biju Patnaik also owns a house on Aurangzeb Road in New Delhi, which remains in the family’s possession.

The recent state elections in Odisha saw the end of Mr Patnaik’s 24-year rule, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) storming to power by securing 78 seats in the 147-member assembly, a significant shift from BJD’s previous dominance. The BJD managed to secure 51 seats, while the Congress took 14 seats, and three went to Independent candidates. In the Lok Sabha polls, the BJD suffered a rout with the BJP winning 20 and the Congress emerging victorious in 1 out of 21 seats in the state. 

The new BJP government will be sworn in on tomorrow at 5 pm. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to arrive in Bhubaneswar at 2:30 pm and proceed to Raj Bhavan from the airport. He will later attend the oath-taking ceremony at Janata Maidan at 5 pm.

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