Himansu Shekhar Rout

Political circles are now abuzz about how far the equations in Kendrapara will be impacted after the sons of two former stalwarts of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and pro-Biju ideology joined the ruling party.

Aravind Mohapatra, son of former BJD leader of Patakura and ex-minister Bijoy Mohapatra, took his political plunge by joining the BJD on Thursday. During his induction, the Chief Minister said, "You are welcome to the party and you work hard in Kendrapara and you have our blessings with you.” 

Earlier, Anshuman Mohanty, former Congress MLA from Rajnagar and the son of ex-BJD leader Nalini Mohanty had joined the ruling party.

Notably, Bijay Mohapatra, one of the founding members of the BJD, was expelled from the party 24 years ago. Since then, he has been silently and dimly active in politics despite his consecutive defeats in Assembly elections on his home turf. 

Many wonder can his son Aravind do what his father failed to do in the Patakura constituency with the blessings of BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik.

"After taking the people of Patakura into confidence and the blessings of my father, I joined the BJD. I will take up the responsibility assigned by the Chief Minister,” Aravind said.

Patakura was the stronghold of Bijoy Mohapatra from 1980 to 2000 and during the period he was elected four times in a row and made minister of water resources and parliamentary affairs when Biju Patnaik was the Chief Minister.     

However, his political career came to an abrupt end in 2000 after Naveen Patnaik dramatically cancelled his party ticket. Then, Mohapatra formed a new party called Odisha Gana Parishad (OGP) which failed to fetch electoral success. Later, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Though he contested on a BJP ticket in the 2019 election from the same seat, he could not taste success.
Since then, his son Aravind has been looking after the organization of his father. There were speculations that Aravind may join the BJP, but that did not happen.    

Now, he is a frontrunner for a BJD ticket from Patakura 

Kendrapara Zilla Parishad chairperson Gitanjali Sethi said, “His entry into the party has been allowed keeping the future in mind.” 

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Senior journalist Akshay Sahoo said, “For Aravind, Patakura may not be a rosy dream. It is not a bed of roses for him. Fighting elections is replete with challenges. If he gets elected, he will have a bright political future. But if he fails to do that, he would have to struggle like his father.”

Years ago, Nalini Mohanty, another stalwart of the BJD in Rajnagar had been disbanded from the party on charges of corruption. Later, he joined Congress and got electoral success. However, after the death of Mohanty, his son looked after the Congress organization and was elected from the Rajnagar seat.

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