Aska Parliamentary constituency, the political birthplace of Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik, has been harsh on party hoppers. None of Naveen’s successors from the seat - all party defectors - has been able to hold on to the seat consecutively.
Following his father Biju Patnaik’s demise in 1997, Naveen started his political career by getting elected to the Lok Sabha from the constituency in a by-election. In 2000, he resigned from the MP seat and contested from Hinjili Assembly segment to gain access to the State Assembly.
Kumudini Patnaik, wife of BJD leader and former minister Ramkrushna Patnaik, was elected from the Parliamentary seat in the by-election held in 2000. However, she and her husband later joined Congress. In 2004, Kumudini lost the seat to Harihara Swain.
Harihara was a former Congress leader who had joined BJD ranks to reap political dividends.
In the middle of his tenure, Harihara was expelled from the BJD after he disobeyed the party whip and voted for the UPA Government during the vote of confidence motion in Parliament.
In the last Lok Sabha election in 2009, Nityananda Pradhan of BJD was elected from the seat. Nityananda was a former secretary of CPI and had joined BJD in 2008. However, despite completing his tenure as a BJD loyalist, Nityananda has been replaced by the party with Ladu Kishore Swain as the candidate for the Parliamentary seat for the upcoming elections.
Political observers opine that though the ploy of changing candidates in the Parliamentary seat has benefited BJD, projecting a new face may pose serious trouble for the party this time.
While Nityananda has been left to ponder over the cause of his replacement, his daughter Latika Pradhan has been left in lurch by the BJD. Latika was declared as the party’s candidate for Kabisuryanagar Assembly segment but was later replaced by sitting MLA V Sugnana Kumari Deo.