Odisha Elections 2024: Heavyweights Step Aside To Make Way For Sons In Balangir Assembly Seat

OB Bureau

Bhubaneswar: With campaign for the twin elections in Odisha gaining momentum, high-voltage fight will be witnessed in Balangir assembly constituency. Like several other constituencies, Balangir will also see ‘son rise’ as heavyweight politicians have made way for their children in this Assembly segment.

The two heavyweights, who were once cabinet colleagues — Ananga Uday Singhdeo and Narasingha Mishra — have left their bastion for their sons. Balangir Assembly segment was retained by Singhdeo and Mishra in different terms.

While Mishra was law minister in former chief minister Biju Patnaik’s cabinet, Singhdeo then served as tourism minister.

Congress veteran Narasingha Mishra will see his youngest son Samarendra fight his traditional opponent, BJD’s Kalikesh Narayan Singhdeo, son of Ananga Uday, a royal scion, in Balangir assembly seat.

Both Samarendra and Kalikesh had fought the 2019 Lok Sabha election unsuccessfully. This time, both Kalikesh and Samarendra have switched to assembly segment.

Veteran leader Ananga Uday, who has left space for his son Kalikesh, dominated the political turf in Balangir from 1990 to 2014 and represented the constituency in the state Assembly during the period, first as Janata Dal and then as BJD legislator. He served as a Minister and held several important portfolios. Kalikesh happens to be a two-time MP who lost Balangir Lok Sabha seat to his sister-in-law Sangeeta Singhdeo in 2019.

However, Narasingha Mishra won Balangir seat in 2014 Assembly elections and retained the constituency in 2019 polls too. Ananga Uday had retired from active electoral politics in 2019, while Narasingha Mishra also called it a day ahead of 2024 elections. The stage is now set for a keen contest between their sons. Though both had lost the Lok Sabha elections last time, they had polled maximum votes from Balangir Assembly segment. While Kalikesh had polled 66,283 votes,

Samarendra had secured 53,763 votes. Sangeeta, who won the Lok Sabha election, was placed third in Balangir Assembly segment.

The fight will be high-octane in Balangir this time as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has also fielded Gopalji Panigrahi in the Assembly seat. Though considered a new face, Gopalji has been active in the political scene in the region, He led the movement over Lower Suktel project and is endowed with enough potential to take on other nominees.

Gopalji, who gained prominence in the area after leading agitations over several issues, may emerge as a major challenge before before Kalikesh and Samarendra.

OB Bureau

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