Op-Ed: Family To The Fore in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Sons, daughters and wives, this election seems to be all about family. Major political parties, which do not tire of railing against dynastic politics, appear to be promoting the same. A look at their list of candidates suggests that powerful families have managed to get more than one ticket.

Take for example the case of Bolangir’s royal siblings, Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo and Arkesh Singh Deo who have been fielded by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) from Bolangir Lok Sabha and assembly seats respectively. Interestingly they will be facing Congress’s father-son duo of Narasingha Mishra and Samarendra Mishra.

While Samarendra, who is making his electoral debut, would be locking horns with two time Bolangir MP, Kalikesh , Narasingha, an old war horse, will be taking on rookie, Arkesh on the Bolangir assembly seat. It is going to be an interesting contest.

Narasinhgha, a former law minister, had earlier declared that he would not contest the polls because of his advancing age. His decision was hailed by many. But all that changed as elections arrived with Mishra now gearing up to don the combat gear apparently on the demand of the people. More significantly he also managed to get the Lok Sabha seat for his son.

Similarly, Arkesh’s father, A U Singhdeo had reportedly lobbied hard for his son whom he wanted to contest from the Bolangir assembly seat which the family considers to be its pocket-borough. With both Kalikesh and Arkesh in the fray AU is obviously a happy man.

State BJP legislature party leader, K V Singhdeo and his wife, Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo, who also hail from the Bolangir royal family, are in the electoral fray on the BJP ticket. The husband-wife pair has featured in several elections in the past which speaks for their grip on the BJP politics in Bolangir.

While state Congress president, Niranjan Patnaik’s son Navajyoti has been nominated by the party to contest the Balasore Lok Sabha seat two prominent Congress leaders are in the fray with their sons this time. The party has fielded former union minister Bhakta Charan Das from the Kalahandi Lok Sabha constituency while his son Sagar Charan Das is making his debut from the Bhawanipatna assembly seat. Similarly, George Tirkey is contesting the Sundergarh (ST) Lok Sabha seat on the hand symbol and his son, Rohit Joseph is the Congress candidate from Birmitrapur (ST) assembly seat currently held by his father.

In Sundergarh district, veteran Congress leader and former chief minister Hemanand Biswal’s two daughters are in the fray as the nominees of opposite parties. While Sunita Biswal is a BJD candidate for the Sundergarh Lok Sabha seat her younger sister Amita has been fielded by the Congress from the Sundergarh assembly constituency.

In the ruling BJD chief minister, Naveen Patnaik has  offered tickets to the sons of at least three party leaders who are not contesting the polls because of different reasons. He has decided to field the sons of chit fund scam-tainted MLAs, Pravat Ranjan Tripathy and Pravat Ranjan Biswal from Banki and Chowdwar-Cuttack seats respectively.  Similarly, Baudevpur MLA and minister Bijayashree Routray’s son would be contesting from the seat in his place.

There are, thus, many examples in this election which prove that leaders with clout, irrespective of the parties they belong to, have succeeded in making politics a family affair.

(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same)