Family contestants in Odisha panchayat poll

 Kendrapara: In is father versus son, mother versus daughter contest in many seats in the February three-tier general panchayat elections held in Odisha.

Agani Prusty finds her granddaughter Sushri Sangita as one of her opponents for the sarpanch election at Kuhudi gram panchayat in Odisha’s Kendrapara district.

In another intriguing battle, a father is pitched against his son. Sanei Kandi is pitted against his son Dinabandhu for ward member election in Gangapur village, the state election commission said.

In another poll fight among blood relations that has evoked curiosity, Bijoy Bhoi is contesting against his younger brother Sarat from Sishua village for ward member post.

In yet another family battle two sisters-in-law Pushpalata Rout and Rashmirekha Jena are contesting the sarpanch poll from Baradanga gram panchayat in Mahakalpada block.

Bikash Chandra Das is fighting against his nephew Gyan Ranjan Das for the sarpanch post poll at Kantapada gram panchyat in Rajkanika block, it said.

The voters from the rural pockets where family members are locked in bitter poll rivalry are confused.

In some places family contests were averted after withdrawal of candidature.

My spouse Rinarani had filed nomination papers. She had contested last time and had lost the polls. So she was insistent to fight the election this time. However she has withdrawn from the contest after she realised that her candidature would affect my victory prospect , said Upendra Mallick a sarpanch contestant from Andara gram panchayat in Pattamundai block.

I had decided to contest. Accordingly I had meticulously planned the poll strategy. I had cultivated close rapport with voters since past four years. However, my daughter has thrown a spanner. I tried to persuade her to withdraw her nomination papers because candidature would dent my victory prospect, said sarpanch post contestant from Koilipur gram panchayat, Tarulata Jena.

Sanei Kandi, fighting for ward member election from Gangapur village observed on the same line. My opponents have hatched a conspiracy by fielding my son in the polls against me. If I lose the polls, our relation is bound to get strained.

The trend is disturbing to say the least. The healthy family relationship would become the casualty. Such poll battle should be discouraged for a congenial social environment , remarked Biraja Kumar Pati, a social activist.

The fight has evoked plenty of interest among the voters. “From our area, a woman candidate is locked in a quadrangular contest for Sarpanch election with one of the contestants being her granddaughter,” remarked Bhakta Charan Mallah from Kuhudi village.