Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], May 24 (ANI): Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief Naveen Patnaik, who won effortlessly in the state Assembly elections, is set to return to power for a fifth consecutive term.
The veteran politician becomes the third chief minister after Sikkim's Pawan Chamling and West Bengal's Jyoti Basu, to achieve the feat.
As trends indicating his win came in Pattanaik thanked the people of Odisha for the "huge victory" as well as leaders and workers of BJD party.
"I would like to express my deep gratitude to the people of our state for having showered their blessings on us," he said.
The chief minister also thanked women voters "who came in large numbers to vote for us."Patnaik who has been chief minister of Odisha since 2000, is considered to be the most successful and popular Chief Minister of the state; adored by millions, for his crystal clean image, corruption-free and transparent government.
Known as a staunch crusader of socio-economic development, his pro-people and development-oriented policies have made Odisha the second fastest developing economy of the country.
He founded the BJD, after the demise of his father Biju Patnaik, and started his political journey as an elected member of the 11th Lok Sabha being elected in the by-election from Aska Parliamentary Constituency in Odisha.
Patnaik was the Union Minister for Steel and Mines, in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre from 1998-2000. However, as the BJD won a majority of seats in alliance with the BJP in the 2000 Odisha Assembly elections, Naveen Patnaik resigned from the Union cabinet and was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Odisha in 2000.
Patnaik has continued his vice-like grip over Odisha with his party, BJD, leading in 105 seats in the 147-member House and himself set to become the Chief Minister for the fifth consecutive term.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has overtaken Congress as the main opposition party, is ahead on 22 seats. Congress is leading in 9 seats.
In the 2014 Assembly elections, BJD had secured 117 seats while BJP bagged 10 seats. Congress won 16 seats in the state.
Patnaik became Chief Minister of Odisha in 1997. From then on he never lost in the five Assembly elections held in the state.
In the Lok Sabha elections, which were held simultaneously with the Assembly polls, BJD is leading in 14 Lok Sabha constituencies out of 21 while BJP is ahead on 7 seats. (ANI)