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For many Odisha politicians, it is a climb down in career ladder

Politicians are known to be adept at sizing up the situation and putting their best foot forward. However, in a curious turn of events, one former Cabinet Minister and many former MLAs have climbed down career ladders to fight panchayat polls to reinvent themselves in politics.

Though the decision to contest as panchayat samiti member after having held the office of Cabinet Minister and winning the MLA seat for three consecutive terms sounds bizarre, Anjali Behera, former Women and Child Development Minister in the Naveen Patnaik government, justified the move saying she was “starting it all again in a new party.”

In 2012, Ms. Behera was sacked from the Cabinet for allegedly being loyal to Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, former Biju Janata Dal (BJD) dissident leader. She is contesting as panchayat samiti (PS) member from Giridharprasad under Hindol block in Dhenkanal district. Ms. Behera had won Hindol block consecutively in 2000, 2004 and 2009. She was a Minister from 2009 to 2012.

Ms. Behera, daughter of former Minister late Trinath Naik, recently joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“I want to strengthen the BJP in my block. Since the PS member post in Giridharprasad is reserved for schedule caste women candidates, I opted to contest it. If I win, there is every chance of my being elected as block chairperson,” she said. The former Cabinet Minister said she filed nomination after being assured support by people in every household. Her elder son is also contesting as zilla parishad member.

Elections to three-tier panchayati raj bodies are scheduled to be held between February 16 and 24 for 853 zilla parishad seats, 91,916 wards and 6,794 gram panchayats.

Prafulla Jena, who was elected as MLA from the Bhandaripokhari Assembly constituency on Janata Dal ticket during the bypoll held in 1991, has been fielded by the BJD as candidate for zilla parishad member post in Bhadrak district. Similarly, former MLA of Raghunathpalli, Halu Mundari, is also a zilla parishad member candidate. Mr. Mundari was an MLA between 2004 and 2009 of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha.


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Printable version | May 18, 2022 9:47:00 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/for-many-odisha-politicians-it-is-a-climb-down-in-career-ladder/article38328295.ece