Odisha's poorest district home to rich politicians

Elections for Bolangir Parliament seat and seven Assembly constituencies under it are scheduled to be held on April 18.

Known for large-scale migration of people in search of work to other states and cities, Bolangir is considered one of the poorest districts in Odisha as well as in the entire country.

However, politicians from this western Odisha district are not that poor. In fact, candidates of all the three major political parties, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the BJP and the Congress, have turned out to be men and woman with crores of rupees.

Elections for Bolangir Parliament seat and seven Assembly constituencies under it are scheduled to be held on April 18.

Sangeeta Singhdeo, the BJP nominee and three-time MP from the western constituency is the owner of assets and properties worth around Rs 30 crore, as per the documents furnished by her with the Election Commission (EC).

Her assets and properties included residential houses, agricultural land, fixed deposits, bonds and shares as well as high-end vehicles.

The net worth of Sangeeta’s arch-rival, two time sitting BJD MP from Bolangir, Kalikesh Singhdeo stands around Rs 13 crore, about Rs five crore more than what he had shown in his affidavit during the 2014 polls.

Both Sangeeta and Kalikesh belong to the Bolangir’s erstwhile royal family. In fact, they are closely related— Sangeeta is the wife of Kalikesh’s first cousin, Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo, the sitting MLA from Patnagarh, one of the Assembly segments under Bolangir Lok Sabha seat.

Kanak Vardhan, popularly known as KV, is also contesting the ongoing polls from his home Assembly constituency and is a crorepati too.

The Bhabi-Devar (sister-in-law-brother-in-law) duo have been sharing Bolangir Lok Sabha constituency since the past 21 years. Sangeeta had won the seat in 1998, 1999 and 2004 when the BJP and the BJD were alliance partners in Odisha.

Kalikesh has been winning the seat since 2009 after the two parties parted ways.

The third participant in Bolangir Lok Sabha seat is Congress’ Samarendra Mishra who also owns assets worth around Rs two crore. He is the son of senior Congress leader and sitting MLA from Bolangir sadar Assembly constituency, Narasingha Mishra.

Mishra senior, a lawyer-turned-politician who is seeking a re-election from Bolangir Assembly seat is also a man with crores of rupees.

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