Dynastic politics is a phenomenon that is featuring prominently in Orissa this election season.
Not only the Congress but also the relatives of present and former BJD MLAs have been enlisted as candidates in the state. Naveen Patnaik, who often mocks the Congress for perpetuating dynastic rule, has given at least a dozen tickets to sons, wives or nephews of prominet leaders. The Congress list released by the state unit chief Jaydev Jena further establishes the point of dynastic politics. Last week, Jena secured the Bhadrak ticket for his son Sangram who was the Orissa Pradesh Youth Congress president.
The party also gave tickets to more than 70 new faces that included relatives of party leaders. In Rajnagar assembly constituency, that was represented by late Nalinikanta Mahanty, the party chose his son Anshuman Mohanty. In Kotpad assembly constituency, the ticket was given to Chandrasekhar Majhi, brother of sitting MLA Basudev Majhi.
The scenario was no different with the BJD.
Former parliamentary affairs minister Kalpataru Das got his son Pranab Balbantray the ticket for Dharmasala assembly seat in Jajpur. In Bolangir, former minister and sitting MLA A U Singh Deo will again contest from Bolangir assembly constituency, while his son Kalilesh Singh Deo is seeking a renomination from the Bolangir Lok Sabha seat.
Former BJD MP from Koraput, Jayram Pangi got a party ticket for his son Ashok Pangi from Kotpad assembly seat, while his nephew Prafulla Pangi is contesting from neighbouring Pottangi assembly seat. Pangi also managed to get the Laxmipur assembly seat for Hema Gamang, wife of former chief minister Giridhar Gamang. Excise minister Anand Acharya could not manage the ticket for Bargarh assembly seat but ensured that his son Devesh got it. Cuttack-Sadar MLA and former minister Kalindi Behera’s son Chandrasarathi got the ticket in his father’s place.
In Simulia seat of Bhadrak, sitting MLA Parsuram Panigrahi’s son Jyotiprakash will contest the election. In Chandbali seat of Bhadrak, Byomkesh Ray was given party ticket in place of his uncle and sitting MLA Bijay Nayak. In Khandrapara assembly seat of Nayagarh, the BJD gave ticket to Anubhav Patnaik, son of former BJD MLA Bijaylaxmi Patnaik.
In Titlagarh, Naveen gave ticket to Geeta Sahu, wife of slain BJD leader Antaryami Sahu, while in Korei, he fielded actor Akash Dasnayak, son of noted labour leader and former SUCI leader Mayadhar Nayak. In Sambalpur, Naveen nominated Dr Raseswari Panigrahi, sister of former Congress MP Sriballav Panigrahi.
“Naveen Patnaik is practicing the same values that he despised earlier. In hindsight, all his mocking of J B Patnaik regime now seems hollow,” said political analyst Rabi Das. Senior BJP leader Suresh Pujari added: “How can one expect Naveen not to perpetuate political legacies when he is the biggest beneficiary of it?”