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Orissa CM Naveen turns 65, attends office as usual

Well wishers, politicians, including ministers, and people from different walks of life on Saturday made a beeline here to wish Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on his 65th birthday.

Updated: Oct 16, 2010, 21:25 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: Well wishers, politicians,
including ministers, and people from different walks of life
on Saturday made a beeline here to wish Orissa Chief Minister Naveen
Patnaik on his 65th birthday.

Patnaik, a bachelor, received greetings and flowers
with his trademark smile from school children, physically
challenged persons, women and others before office hours in
the morning.
"I wish peace, prosperity and progress for all in the
state," Patnaik, who was born on October 16, 1946 in Cuttack,
told reporters.

He attended office at the third floor of the state
secretariat as usual even as the state`s main administrative
office witnessed thin attendance due to Puja festival.

His birthday was celebrated in a simple manner without
much fanfare to suit the chief minister`s simple lifestyle,
said a staff of Naveen Niwas, his residence.

"There is nothing special at the chief minister`s
residence though the visitors were offered cold drinks and
cake," the staff said adding that Patnaik maintained his daily
routine.
A latecomer in politics, Patnaik continued to remain
chief minister of Orissa since 2000 before becoming a union
minister.

He had joined politics in 1997 after the demise of his
legendary father Biju Patnaik, a former chief minister and
union minister.

Patnaik, who was for the first time elected to Lok
Sabha from Aska seat in 1997, established Biju Janata Dal
(BJD) in 1998 and become its founder president.

Beginning his career in politics with BJP, Patnaik
dropped the saffron party just before the last year`s general
elections in the backdrop of a large-scale communal violence
in Kandhamal.

Patnaik enjoyed the opportunity of being the only
politician in the state, probably in the country, who had
never lost an election and therefore continued in power for
about one-and-half decade.

A soft spoken chief minister`s simple lifestyle and
clean image is the key to his success, said a senior minister
adding that his anti-Centre stand sometimes helped the
regional party to keep the main opposition Congress away from
power.

Though Patnaik`s third innings appeared hectic due to
the multi-crore mining scam, linkage coal scam, farmer
suicides, anti-industry agitations and tribal uprise, his
manner of handling things in a cool temperament helped the
government to overcome difficulties, said a senior bureaucrat.

PTI