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Meet The Odisha Netas In Pursuit Of ‘Dynastic Politics’ In 2019 Elections


23 March 2019

Debashish Maharana


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Bhubaneswar: Despite being in an era of ‘democracy’-of the people, by the people, for the people-Indian politics since its Independence from the British Raj has been witnessing an aberration of ‘dynastic politics’.

Indian National Congress (INC) is a prime instance of it as after first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter Indira Gandhi, after Indira her eldest son Rajiv Gandhi, after Rajiv his wife Sonia and after Sonia her son Rahul. Now sister Priyanka has also entered into active politics.

It is not limited to the Nehru-Gandhi family. Most of the Indian political parties have been practising this dynastic politics even though the intensity is less or more. Even the regional parties like late Karunanidhi’s DMK, Lalu Yadav’s RJD, Mulayam Singh Yadav’s SP, Fooraq Abdullah’s National Conference, former Prime Minister Devagowda’s JD(S), etc.
Same is the case with Odisha ‘netas’ (political leaders).

It’s true that late political stalwart Biju Babu was least interested in inducting anyone of his heirs or heiress into politics. But destiny had something in store. Soon after his demise, his youngest son Naveen Patnaik had to take over because the then bereft Janata Dal leaders of Odisha longed for and now Naveen is the most popular and consecutively four-time Chief Minister of Odisha.

Already senior BJD leader Prafulla Chandra Ghadai’s son Danny alias Pranab is MLA from Jajpur Parliamentary constituency’s Sukinda assembly segment. Among several instances, former BJD leader Damodar Rout’s son Sambit is still in BJD despite his father’s ouster and recent defection to BJP. Sambit is an aspirant for his father’s bastion Paradip assembly seat though his candidature is yet to be announced formally by BJD.

Thus, instances galore so far the Odisha ‘netas’ are in pursuit of ‘dynastic politics’ in the ensuing 2019 general elections.
The case of former Chief Minister and former MP of Sundargarh Hemanand Biswal is a glaring instance. He has ostensibly taken ‘sanyas’ (retired) from electoral politics, but his two daughters have this time plunged into electoral politics from Sundargarh Parliamentary constituency. While elder daughter Sunita Biswal has been fielded as BJD’s Sundargarh (ST) MP candidate, younger one Amita Biswal has been fielded by Congress as the MLA candidate for Sundargarh (ST) Sadar assembly seat.

Also, Sundargarh MP candidate of Congress George Tirkey’s son has been fielded by the grand old party for the Birmitrapur assembly constituency.

Leader of Opposition-cum-senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra, though had earlier announced not to contest this time, he has been once again Balangir MLA candidate while his son, Samarendra Mishra, has made his electoral politics debut as Congress candidate for Balangir MP seat.

Senior BJD leader and Rajya Sabha member Prashant Nanda’s son Rishav amazingly joined BJP on Thursday last week. Even though his name had not surfaced to be in fray till the filing of this story, it is said that he was keen on a BJD ticket for Begunia assembly constituency. Also the instance is with former Odisha Chief Minister Giridhar Gamango (now in BJP). His wife has already been in politics since long and was also a Congress MP while his son is now a BJP MLA candidate.

Senior BJP leader and former minister Biswa Bhusan Harichandan’s son is also an example.

Scores of such instances are here in Odisha politics.

In his reactions, senior journalist and political expert Prasant Pattnaik said, “One who has tasted the opium of power, the person wishes it to last long through heirs and heiresses so that the dynastic rule could be enjoyed. No one wishes to relinguish the pleasure of power and chair. When one sees that the power has to be quit, the preference goes to son or daughter or grand children. Thus, the trend is being observed not only in Odisha, also in the other States of India.”

“It is being observed that the successor even switches over to another party with the knowledge of father. Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra has introduced his son into politics. Former Chief Minister Hemananda Biswal’s two daughters are now in two other parties. It implies that power would remain in the family. Either of the daughters wins, power after all remains within the family,” the senior scribe remarked.

Another senior journalist and political expert Prabhukalyan Mohapatra said, “Dynastic or family politics is mainly witnessed now. This trend is not limited to a single party. For example, outgone Assembly’s Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra’s son Samrendra is Bolangir candidate. Similarly, Hemananda Biswal’s daughter is MP candidate from BJD.” “The reason is that the influential political leaders think that they have invested a lot in politics. If successor of own families are not in power politics, the investment is all valueless,” he opined.

He also remarked, “In many cases, such an option by the politicians is not accepted by the people. It is being accepted some cases. The way politics has turned into a business, it’s no more a means for public service. The power greed is so much that the politicians are not able to survive without it. They think public service cannot be done without power. Those who have already tasted it they are not prepared to give it up. Hence, such a competition is on how to fit family members in politics by hook or crook. I think such a trend will end soon as the voters are becoming conscious and alert gradually.”

Also Read: Congress Announces Candidates For 2 More LS & 54 Assembly Seats In Odisha

Also Read: BJP Announces Candidates For 22 More Assembly & 5 Lok Sabha Seats, Sambit Patra Fielded From Puri

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Prasant Pattnaik, Senior Journalist

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Prabhukalyan Mohapatra, Senior Journalist