Unfazed by a series of scams including mining and chit fund scandals and charges of irregularities in rural job scheme MGNERGA, Patnaik steered the BJD to a landslide victory in the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls as the party won 117 of the 147 Assembly seats and 20 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats.
The 67-year-old Patnaik effectively tackled the party's internal affairs and countered the opposition onslaught to raise the popularity of BJD in every successive elections.
Despite being chief of a regional party, Patnaik's name was at one point mooted by many even for the prime ministerial job, but the BJD supremo kept a low profile, largely confining himself to state politics.
Patnaik was inducted into politics after his father's death in 1997. He became a Lok Sabha member winning the by-election from Aska. A year later Naveen floated the Biju Janata Dal, a regional party named after his father and entered into alliance with BJP to become a cabinet minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1998.