The coming simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections in Odisha are likely to witness scions of erstwhile princely states join the poll fray as in the past.
At least 14 of them had jumped into the electoral battle in 2014 and several family members of the erstwhile royal families are already lobbying for party tickets this time, sources in political parties said.
The state has 21 Lok Sabha seats and the assembly 147 seats and elections to them are slated to be held in four phases in April.
The present Lok Sabha has at least three descendants of erstwhile princely states of Odisha, while at least five of them are members of the outgoing state assembly.
All the three royal family members in Lok Sabha from the state belong to the ruling BJD. While Kalikesh Narayan Singhdeo represents Bolangir parliamentary constituency and Arka Keshari Deo is the Lok Sabha member from Kalahandi.
Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat is represented by Pratyusha Rajeswari Singh, who became MP after winning a by-election in 2015 following the death of her husband Hemendra Singh of former Nayagarh royal family, who had been elected in 2014 general elections.
The Assembly members belonging to former princely states are Pushpendra Singhdeo (Dharmagarh), Usha Devi (Chikiti), V Sugnana Kumari Deo (Kabisurya Nagar) Pravin Bhanjadeo (Morada) and Kanak Vardhan SinghDeo (Patnagarh).
While K V Singh Deo is a senior BJP leader, the other four are from the ruling BJD.
In 2014, the ruling BJD and BJP had fielded 11 and three candidates respectively from royal families in parliamentary and assembly seats. Of the 11 royal family members in the poll fight on BJD tickets last time, three tried their luck in parliamentary seats and the rest eight in assembly seats.
Scions of erstwhile princely states had fought in one parliamentary and two assembly seats on BJP tickets.
Among the aspirants are Arkesh Singhdeo, son of former state Minister and BJD stalwart A U Singhdeo, who hopes to try his luck from Balangir assembly constituency. In 2014, his father had contested from Balangir as a BJD candidate but was defeated by Narasingha Mishra of Congress.
Malavika Devi says she had actively participated in campaigning for her husband in 2014 and wants to work for the people.
Gajapati district is also likely to see a princely family member in the poll fray. Kalyani Devi, the great granddaughter of erstwhile king of Paralakhemundi Maharaja Krushna Chandra Gajapati, recently joined the ruling BJD.
She is the daughter of Gopinath Gajapati, who was twice elected the Congress MP from Berhampur.
Kalyani Devi, who has also met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, says it is upto the BJD supremo to decide about her nomination.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)