Pradeep Pattanayak

Former Rajya Sabha member and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's mentor late Pyarimohan Mohapatra’s daughter, Sikta Pati has joined the Congress party. Her joining came close on the heels of former Odisha chief secretary Bijay Patnaik joining the grand old party. 

She joined the Congress party on Wednesday in presence of Odisha Congress in-charge A Chellakumar, OPCC president Sarat Kumar Pattanayak and former OPCC president and senior leader Niranjan Patnaik. A special event (Mishran Parva) was organised at the Congress Bhawan for her induction into the party. 

Immediately after her induction, Sikta said, “It is too early to say anything about the results of the 2024 general elections. But one thing is clear that people are looking for an alternative. They are doing so because the party in the ruling has reached a saturation point. Most importantly, people should know which alternative is good for them.”

When asked about her contesting the elections, her answer was negative. “For the time being I don’t have any plan to contest elections. First, I would like to work for the people,” she added. 

Notably, Sikta’s father Pyarimohan Mohapatra, a bureaucrat-turned-politician, who was referred to as the Chanakya of Odisha politics, died on 19 March 2017 at age of 77. Following a coup attempt against Naveen Patnaik in May 2012, he became a bête noire from a close aide of Patnaik. 

Subsequently, Mohapatra was sacked from the Biju Janata Dal. He then floated his own party ‘Odisha Jana Morcha’ on April 10, 2013. 

Following her father’s death, Sikta became the General Secretary of the OJM. In 2019, she had joined the BJD, in presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.