BALANGIR: AS the election season begins to hot up, Balangir seems to be bracing for a son-rise. The old guard is finally looking to give way to the new but, as is the way in politics, the change is all about keeping it in the family.
Leaders cutting across party lines have got busy in preparing their heirs, read sons, to take on the mantle. While Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra is hopeful of Congress ticket for his son Samarendra Mishra, his BJD rival and former minister AU Singhdeo wants to pass the poll baton to his son Arkesh Singhdeo.
With chances of getting tickets from the parties quite strong, both Samarendra and Arkesh have already got into the poll mode and engaging with the voters actively. Samarendra may contest from Balangir Lok Sabha seat from Congress while Arkesh is likely to be put up from Balangir Assembly seat by BJD.
Both are taking part in various party meetings and programmes in their region. They have also stepped up efforts to build up their base and project themselves as the upcoming political heirs of Balangir.
The Mishra and Singhdeo families have been long-time political rivals. AU’s father Rajendra Narayan Singhdeo and Narasingha’s father Judhistir Mishra were political opponents and the rivalry has continued.
Narasingha had won the Balangir constituency with 61,730 votes in 2014 election by defeating AU of BJD by a margin of 12,254 votes. He was the deputy leader of Congress Legislature Party from 2004 to 2009. Narasingha was first elected to the Assembly in 1990 from Loisingha constituency in the district and served as the Law Minister.
Although he joined the State Legislature in 1990, he was considered a power centre in Balangir for a long time. He is said to be the mentor of many present and former PRIs from the region and this makes him a potent force irrespective of the party he represents.
Similarly, AU was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2014. A Doon school classmate and close friend of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, he was the Cabinet minister in Odisha Government holding portfolios like PWD, Excise and, Mines. In 2011, he had to step down as Cabinet minister following hooch tragedy in Cuttack. His son, Kalikesh Singh Deo is an MP.
Mishra leaves Govt event fuming
Balangir: Congress leader Narasingha Mishra left the Ama Gaon Ama Vikash event here mid-way, protesting ‘nuisance’ by BJD workers on Friday. He alleged that the ruling party workers are using Government events to raise slogans in favour of BJD leaders. The Ama Gaon Ama Vikash event was being held at Sibtala village under Balangir Sadar block. Apart from Narasingha, MP Kalikesh Singhdeo, former minister AU Singhdeo and BJD leader Arkesh Singhdeo were present.