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Dhenkanal set for uncle-nephew war

- Cong ignores Rahul’s rules: Suparno

Angul, April 5: A business administration degree holder from Newport University, 41-year-old Suparno Satpathy, grandson of Odisha’s only woman chief minister Nandini Satpathy, has locked horns with his high-profile uncle Tathagata Satpathy in the Dhenkanal Lok Sabha seat.

Despite his avowed loyalty to Rahul Gandhi, Suparno was denied a Congress ticket. Now, he is seeking election from the Ama Odisha Party of Soumya Ranjan Patnaik.

“Rahul Gandhi, in fact, had no say in the ticket distribution,” said Suparno, accusing the state leadership of not following Rahul Gandhi’s vision.

“The match in Odisha has been fixed between Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Jaydev Jena and BJD president Naveen Patnaik. It is obvious from the candidates selected by the Congress in the state. It hardly followed Rahul’s criterion for ticket distribution,” he said.

The constituency is not new to the Satpathys. His grandfather, Debendra Satpathy, represented it and his uncle, Tathagata, is seeking his fifth term from the seat. Nandini, too, had represented the Lok Sabha constituency several times.

A passout of Army Public School in New Delhi, Suparno is the son of Nandini’s eldest son Nachiketa. After completing his BBA in 1994, he had plunged into business by manufacturing physical fitness related items in Delhi.

“Family relations have nothing to do with politics. People in the constituency want me to represent them. There were demands from various quarters, so I decided to contest,” Suparno said. There is no doubt that his presence in the fray will embarrass the sitting MP, Tathagata. But, that the two families do not get along well became obvious when Suparno joined the Congress in 2006. He also runs a trust in the name of Nandini. His supporters claim that Suparno was a part of Rahul Gandhi’s close circle. In 2009, he was denied party nomination. He was in the race this time, too. But at the last moment, the Congress opted for Sudhir Samal and that prompted him to quit the Congress and join the Ama Odisha Party.

“People have tested them – the BJD, the BJP and the Congress. Now, they want a new person like me who would be able to fulfil their aspirations,” Suparno said.