BJDs survival, growth not dependent on me: Patnaik

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. (PTI Photo)

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday claimed that the ruling Biju Janata Dal has already become a "peoples movement" during its 22-years of existence and the regional party is not dependant on any particular leader including him.

"Biju Janata Dal is not a political party and it is not dependent on some or other leaders including me for its survival and growth," Patnaik said while addressing a gathering at a function marking the 23rd Foundation Day of the regional outfit born on December 26, 1997.

Patnaik's statement is considered politically significant as critics used to dub the BJD as a personality- centric party and its fate was linked to the chief minister.

In a clear message to critics, Patnaik claimed BJD has its inherent strength because of its selfless service to the 4.5 crore people of Odisha.

BJD since its inception in 1997 has not lost any elections and Patnaik continues to remain as the Chief Minister of Odisha for five consecutive terms since 2000. This apart, the party also continued to win a sizable number of seats in Lok Sabha elections held in last two decades.

The chief minister said the BJD is a movement to serve the people and empower them. "The 4.5 crore people are BJDs family members. The people have voted us not to power but to serve them," Patnaik said adding that the party has been doing its duty with humility.

"We are not working to win elections but to win the hearts of the people through service. We have been working on all the 365 days in a year," the BJD president told the party workers whom he thanked for their dedicated service to the people of Odisha.

"I congratulate crores of BJD workers of the state on the party's foundation day. Your (workers) dedication, hard work and honesty have strengthened the party by giving oxygen," Patnaik said.

He said the BJDs aim was to empower the people of Odisha.

"I am giving a talisman to you (workers) that serve the people. The BJD could become a source of hope and aspiration of the people because of its dedicated service to the people," he said.

In a clear message to the party leaders and workers, Patnaik quoted his father late Biju Patnaik and said: "Do not be loyal to me, but be loyal to the cause of Odishas destiny."

Patnaik said: "True to his (Biju Patnaik) words, BJD has now become a peoples movement."

The chief minister also reminded the party leaders about the talisman of Mahatma Gandhi on developing an attitude of service among BJD workers. "Gandhiji's talisman on service to humanity will inspire humanity in all ages," Patnaik said. 

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