BHUBANESWAR: Naveen Patnaik took oath as the Chief Minister of Odisha for the fifth time after a decisive victory in the state elections that were held along with national elections. The 72-year-old is the longest-serving chief minister of the coastal state.
Mr Patnaik and his team of ministers were administered oath by Governor Ganeshi Lal at a function in Bhubaneswar. Unlike the low-key ceremonies when he took oath in the past, the swearing-in – in a first – was held in full public view, outside the Raj Bhavan.
Minutes after taking oath, the Odisha Chief Minister took a trip down memory lane, sharing a montage of his 19 years in office.
A day ahead of the swearing-in, 11 cabinet ministers and nine ministers of state were appointed on Mr Patnaik’s recommendation. The new team of ministers will have 10 new faces.
Apart from Chief Minister’s elder brother and businessman Prem Patnaik, sister and noted writer Gita Mehta, around 7,000 dignitaries including captains of industries attended the swearing-in ceremony.
Biju Janata Dal, Mr Patnaik’s party, won 112 out of the 147 seats in the Odisha state election which was held along with Lok Sabha polls. The party has been in power in the state since 2000.
The BJP made inroads in Odisha and bagged eight parliamentary eight seats while Mr Patnaik’s party won 12.
Before taking the oath, Mr Patnaik offered prayers at the Shree Jagannath temple in Puri.
Naveen Patnaik, 72, had invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for today’s swearing-in ceremony. But he did not attend the function. Mr Patnaik was congratulated by PM Modi sooner after his victory in the assembly polls. He too had dialed PM Modi and wished the him for the BJP’s stunning win in the Lok Sabha election.
PM Modi congratulated Mr Patnaik after the latter took oath.
The Chief Minister, once a part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance between 1998 and 2009, maintained that he was “equidistant” from that party as well as the Congress. Claiming that no party will get a majority in the national election, Mr Patnaik had said that he will support any party or coalition that supports the development of Odisha, especially in the aftermath of the monster cyclone Fani that killed 64 people and left a trail of destruction in the state.