Pradeep Pattanayak

There is an old adage; everything is fair in love and war. Arguably, it is ever so relevant in today's politics. 

The case in point is the Chikiti Assembly constituency in Ganjam district. Earlier, Chikiti would see the political battle between the royal family and Chintamani Dyan Samantaray. While the royal family has been representing the Janata Dal and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Chintamani was elected to the Odisha Legislative Assembly thrice- as an independent candidate in 1980, on a Congress ticket in 1985 and again as an independent candidate in 1995. He also served as the Speaker of the Odisha Legislative Assembly. 

Cut to the present, the political fight is not only between Chintamani’s family and the royal family but within the Chintamani family itself. 

This election, Chintamani’s two sons are going to lock horns. While his elder son Rabindra is making a foray into politics for the first time and contesting the election on a Congress ticket, his younger son Manoranjan has been nominated by the BJP. 

Also Read: Odisha Elections 2024: Bapi Sarkhel quits Congress, says ‘not interested in ticket’ 

“In Mahabharat, Dhritarashtra would sit wearing a blindfold. I feel the present situation of my father no different,” said Manoranjan.

His elder brother Rabindra said, “Our identity is Chintamani Dyan Samantaray. I have decided to go ahead with my father’s blessings.”

“Since Rabindra is contesting on a Congress ticket, I will support him. At the same time, Manoranjan is not my enemy. He is my son. But I am not in that party,” said Chintamani Dyan Samantaray. 

In the Chikiti Assembly seat, the BJD has fielded Chinmayananda Srirup Deb, son of Chikiti queen & minister, Usha Devi.   

In the Nabarangpur Assembly constituency, BJD MLA Sadasiva Pradhani’s wife Koushalya is taking on her nephew Dilip Pradhani. This is a fight within the family of the late Khagapati Pradhani, a 9-time parliamentarian. While Koushalya has been fielded by the BJD, Dilip has been nominated by Congress. 

“My aunt is in the fray. But she is fighting with BJD ideology and I am with Congress ideology,” said Dilip. 

About her relationship with Dilip, Koushalya said, “Our relationship was never strained. We are living like a family. We celebrate festivals together. I don’t think the election would turn our relationship sour. 

(Reported by Satyanarayan Padhi and Nabaghana Bisoi)