BHUBANESWAR: Stalwarts of Odisha politics and veteran Congress leaders Narasingha Mishra and Suresh Kumar Routray, who have announced not to contest the upcoming elections, bade an emotional farewell to the Assembly on Friday.
“I have nothing against anybody. I received cooperation from everyone cutting across party lines during my tenure in the Assembly,” leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) Mishra said while announcing his decision not to contest elections anymore. He hoped more efficient members will be elected to enrich the traditions of the House.
Coming out of the Assembly, Routray prostrated on the steps. “I have turned 80. I am tired. My body can no longer cope with the hectic activities of a legislator. When my two sons agreed to join politics, I decided to retire from active politics. I hope they will take on from where I left,” he said.
Routray said while his younger son Manmath will contest from Jatni, the elder Siddharth will fight from Nimapara. On his experience during his long political career, the six-time MLA said he was happy to have helped people in every possible way. “Besides serving people, I ensured industrialisation in Jatni and its adjacent areas. During the tenure of JB Patnaik as chief minister, rapid industrialisation was taken up in my constituency,” he said.
Mishra was elected to the Assembly on a Janata Dal ticket from Loisingha and Binka constituencies in 1990 and 1995. He was elected on Congress ticket thrice from Loisingha and Balangir in 2004, 2014 and 2019. He was the law minister in Biju Patnaik cabinet from March 15, 1990 to March 15, 1995 and the leader of Opposition in the Assembly from June, 2024 to May, 2019. The senior leader was also the first chairperson of the Western Odisha Development Council from July, 1999 to December, 2000.
Similarly, Routray was elected to the Assembly six times from Jatni. In 1977, he won on a Janata Party ticket. Later, he represented the constituency in 1980, 1985, 1995, 2000, and 2019 as a Congress candidate. He was a minister of state in the JB Patnaik cabinet with excise and sports and youth services portfolios from March 21, 1995 to March 5, 2000.