Ten Erstwhile Royals Battle It Out In Odisha Polls

Bhubaneswar: Ten members of erstwhile royal families are trying out their luck in the upcoming polls in Odisha with three major political players- BJD, BJP and Congress- reposing trust on them to tide over the intriguing poll battle.

It however remains to be seen whether the erstwhile royals manage to woo voters in their favour with the royal connection.

The ruling regional party BJD has nominated three women royals Usha Devi from Ganjam district to fight assembly polls. The royals nominated are Usha Devi from Chikiti, Nandini Devi from Sanakhemundi and Kalyani Devi from Paralakhemundi Assembly segments.

Kalyani Devi, the great granddaughter of erstwhile king of Paralakhemundi Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati, will contest the election on a BJD ticket from the Paralakhemundi assembly seat. She is the daughter of Gopinath Gajapati, who was a two-time Congress MP from Berhampur.

In Balangir Lok Sabha constituency, the ruling BJD and BJP have reposed their faith in members of the royal family and fielded them as candidates. While Kalikesh Narayan Singhdeo, one of the royals and sitting BJD MP, has been re-nominated from the Lok Sabha seat, his younger brother Arkesh Narayan Singhdeo has been fielded by the ruling party from Balangir Assembly seat. Both Kalikesh and Arkesh are sons of BJD veteran and former Rajya Sabha Member AU Singhdeo.

The BJP has also nominated Sangeeta Singhdeo, a former MP and wife of KV Singhdeo, from the Lok Sabha seat. KV will contest from Patnagarh on a BJP ticket. Both of them are erstwhile royals.

The Congress party has fielded Manojmanjari Debi of the erstwhile Nilagiri royal family from Nilagari assembly seat. From Dhenkanal Lok Sabha seat, Congress has nominated former minister K.P. Singhdeo, scion erstwhile Dhenkanal royal kingdom.

BJP has fielded Nitesh Ganga Deb for Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat. He is the scion of ruler of erstwhile Bamra State.