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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 22 May 2024

Sons of MPs, MLAs given tickets in Odisha to contest upcoming Lok Sabha elections

The phenomenon is most visible in the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) headed by bachelor chief minister Naveen Patnaik

Subhashish Mohanty Bhubaneswar Published 12.04.24, 06:15 AM
Naveen Patnaik

Naveen Patnaik File image

It’s “sonrise” time in Odisha. Almost all the major political parties of the state have rewarded the sons of politicians, including MPs and MLAs, with tickets to contest the ensuing elections.

The phenomenon is most visible in the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) headed by bachelor chief minister Naveen Patnaik.

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This seems to be a calculated move by the party leadership to overcome the anti-incumbency factor while keeping Naveen’s clean image intact. Most of these young men rewarded with tickets are the heir apparent of MLAs or former MLAs who fell out of favour following cases of alleged corruption or criminal cases against them.

However, considering their clout in their respective constituencies the party thought it better to field their children this time.

“By doing this Naveen has been able to kill two birds with one stone. While this has prevented possible revolts against the party by the followers of the leaders denied tickets it has also ensured that his image remains intact,” said Birupakshya Tripathy, the editor of a local vernacular paper, Pragativadi.

Prominent among these young leaders to land BJD tickets is Ankit Jena, son of former minister Pratap Jena. The senior Jena has a case of murder pending against him.

Similarly, Naveen’s party has once again given tickets to Souvik Biswal and Debi Ranjan Tripathy, sons of two BJD stalwarts from Cuttack district. While Souvik is the son of Pravat Biswal, Debi is the son of Pravat Tripathy. Both are embroiled in chit-fund cases.

From western Odisha, Naveen has awarded tickets to Joseph Trikey from Birmitrapur and Anil Barua from Rajgangpur. They are the sons of two stalwarts from the area — tribal leader George Tirkey and BJD leader Managala Kishan. Gorge was once the face of the JMM in the area.

Naveen has denied tickets to veterans like former minister and his Doon schoolmate A.U. Singh Deo but the latter’s son Kalikesh Singh Deo has been made the party’s candidate from the Bolangir Assembly constituency.

Former Finance Minister, Prafulla Ghadai, once a political powerhouse in the mineral-rich Jajpur belt, was given compulsory retirement in 2014. His son Preeti Ranjan Ghadia has been given the BJD ticket for the fourth consecutive time in this election. Besides he has also been rewarded with tickets to the sons of veterans like Ashok Das, Nalini Mohanty and Kalpataru Das who were among the staunch followers of his father and former chief minister Biju Patnaik.

Similarly, Naveen has given tickets to Chinmayananda Shreerupa Deb, son of minister housing and urban development, Usha Devi, Biplab Patra, son of late Surya Naryan Patra and Sunil Mohanty, son of late Maheswar Mohanty.

Another leader to gain from Naveen’s generosity is Arabind Mohapatra, son of his friend-turned-foe Bijoy Mohapatra who has failed to win an Assembly election ever since being denied the BJD ticket in 2000.

Another young leader contesting the ensuing Lok Sabha polls on a BJD ticket is Manmath Routray, son of Congress leader Suresh Kumar Routray. He has been fielded from Bhubaneswar.

The Congress has also given Assembly tickets to Samarendra Mishra, son of Bolangir MLA Narasingha Mishra and Sagar Charan Das, son of former MP Bhakta Charan Das from Bolangir and Bhawanipatna respectively.

Abhinandan, the son of sitting BJP Kalahandi MP Basanta Panda, has been fielded from the Nuapada Assembly seat.

The party has nominated Manoranjan, the younger son of former Congress minister Chintamani Dyansamantray from Chikiti. His elder son Ravindranath has got the Congress ticket. The constituency, thus, will see a battle between two brothers.

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