Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Royal families have been involved in active politics in Odisha for long. Various political parties have also relied on the royal families to deliver good results in the elections. Whenever a party has formed a government in the State, importance has been given to the members of the royal families. Political parties always prefer to give tickets to the kings, kings’ sons, daughters-in-law, grandsons and granddaughters over other candidates. Many members of royal families are also in the fray for the upcoming General Elections in Odisha.

A number of royal families have been involved in active politics in Ganjam for more than five decades now. Royal families from Khallikote, Chikiti, Digapahandi and Dharakote are always directly and indirectly involved in politics.

Royal scion of Chikiti, Chinmayananda Srirup Deb, who has been in politics for many years, is in the fray for the upcoming election. He will try his luck in politics after grandfather Sachidananda Deb, who was elected to the seat in 1971, and his mother six-time MLA Usha Devi. 

“Many development activities have been undertaken in our area. Development is a continuous process. We will take forward the process with the Naveen Patnaik government,” said Srirup Deb.

Sulakshana Geetanjali Devi from Dharakote Royal family is also contesting election from Sanakhemundi Assembly constituency with BJD ticket this time in place of her mother Nandini Devi. 

“I have got tremendous response from the people. People have a great love for BJD and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. I am hopeful of good performance,” said Sulakshana.

Moreover, a member of Badakhemundi Royal family Sridhar Deb will fight the upcoming election from Digapahandi on Congress ticket.

“I am a member of Badakhemundi Royal family. I am confident that residents of Digapahandi will bless the son of the soil this time,” said Sridhar Deb.

The influence of the Royal family in Bolangir is well known. Following the retirement of Pattayat king Ananga Udaya Singh Deo from electoral politics in 2019, his elder son Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo will now contest from Bolangir Sadar Assembly seat on BJD ticket.

“I thank Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the leadership group of BJD. We will try our best to register victories for BJD in Bolangir,” said Kalikesh.

The BJP has re-nominated its MP Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo from the Bolangir Lok Sabha seat. She hails from the Bolangir royal family. Her husband senior BJP leader KV Singh Deo has also been fielded by the saffron party from the Patnagarh Assembly segment. 

“To achieve the target of transforming India into a developed and self-reliant country by 2047, we need another term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said Sangeeta.

Kalahandi royal family is also fully active in politics. BJP has fielded Malavika Keshari Deo, wife of former MP Arka Keshari Deo for Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat. 

“I will meet every household and assure people that I will work for them. I have a strong feeling that they will vote for me,” said Malavika.

Pushpendra Singh Deo, a member of Jaipatna royal family has been fielded by BJD for the Dharmgarh assembly seat.

The BJD has also fielded Arundhati Devi, who is the wife of erstwhile Deogarh king and Sambalpur MP Nitesh Ganga Dev, as its Deogarh Assembly candidate.

“I don’t have any poll strategy. I seek blessings from people so that I can work well for them,” said Arundhati.

The participation of a royal family in Dhenkanal politics is also prominent. The Congress has fielded Susmita Singh Deo, a member of the Dhenkanal royal family for the Dhenkanal Assembly seat. Susmita, who is the daughter-in-law of Dhenkanal king Kamakhya Prasad Singh Deo, will make her debut in electoral politics this time.

“Nobody has undertaken more development work than the Royal family in Dhenkanal. We have to move forward with more and more development activities in Dhenkanal,” said Susmita.