Bhubaneswar, Jan 31: As the election is impending, the political dynamics are changing fast in the landscape of Ganjam district.
In Ganjam district, three Royal families, the families which were ruling erstwhile Khallikote, Chikiti, and Dharakote estates, are active in politics. Since independence; these three families have been dominating the politics in the district.
Khalikota queen V. Sugnan Kumari Deo, the ruling BJD leader had been winning consecutively 10 times from Khalikota and Kabisuryanagar since 1974. Due to old age, she is now staying away from direct politics. In 2019 she did not contest the election. She is now living in Chennai but dictating the politics in both constituencies.
Similarly, the Chikiti Royal family and its queen Usha Devi, the cabinet minister in Naveen Pattanaik Ministry have been representing the Chikiti assembly segment since 2000 continuously. She won six times from this seat. Though people are loyal to the royal family, the political scenario has witnessed a shift following the demise of Usha Devi’s brother-in-law, Durga Prasad Deo. Usha Devi’s son, Srirup Deo, an industrialist, has entered the political scene but is yet to gain widespread acceptance. Though Srirup is being projected as the political heir of Usha Devi, the senior party leaders prefer the queen to take the mantle forward.
On the other hand, Dharakote queen Nandini Devi is now active in politics. Her husband Kishor Chandra Singhdeo was a BJP leader. As a BJP candidate, she contested the election in 2009 from Sanakhemundi assembly seat and lost. After the death of her husband, she switched over to BJD and was elected as an MLA from Sanakheuindi in 2014. She again lost the election in 2019 from this seat.
Dharakote queen Nandini Devi has now brought her daughter Sulakhyana Gitanjali as her political heir. Sulakhyana was elected as chairman of Dharakote Block. She is now active in politics and is seen participating in various political programs. Sulakhyana is now projected as a BJD candidate in the Sanakhemundi assembly seat in the ensuing election.