At least six former bureaucrats and half-a-dozen media barons are in the fray for the Lok Sabha and the assembly elections that are being held simultaneously in Odisha. No former bureaucrats or media barons, however, were in the fray during the first phase of polling in the state on April 11.
The former bureaucrats who are contesting the elections in the next three phases are Aparajita Sarangi, Arup Patnaik, Prakash Mishra, Nalini Kanta Pradhan, Sarmistha Sethi and Ramesh Chandra Sai.
They are contesting the elections for the first time. Polling for the next three phases will be held on April 18, 23 and 29 in the state. Aparajita Sarangi, an IAS officer who recently quit the government service, is a BJP candidate from Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha seat.
She is pitted against former Mumbai Police Commissioner and retired IPS officer Arup Patnaik of the BJD and veteran CPM leader Janardan Pati. Similarly, former Director General of CRPF and Odisha DGP Prakash Mishra is trying his luck as a BJP candidate from the Cuttack Lok Sabha seat.
Mishra is facing five-time MP Bhartruhari Mahatab of the BJD, and former Odisha minister and Congress candidate Panchanan Kanungo in the prestigious Cuttack seat.
Former secretary of the Works Department, Nalini Kanta Pradhan, who quit the government service in February this year, is a BJD candidate from Sambalpur Lok Sabha seat and he facing BJP candidate Nitesh Gangdeb, a sitting MLA from Deogarh. The Congress has fielded former MP Sarat Patnaik.
Sarmistha Sethi, who resigned from the Odisha Financial Services, barely a few days before the announcement of the election dates, is a BJD candidate from Jajpur, a reserved Lok Sabha seat.
Sethi is facing Amiya Mallick of the BJP and Manas Jena of the Congress. Former Odisha Administrative Officer Ramesh Chandra Sai is a BJD candidate. He is trying his luck from the Atthmalik assembly segment against Bhagirathi Pradhan of BJP and Bijayananda Choliya of the Congress.
Similarly, half-a-dozen media barons are in the fray. While BJD's Cuttack Lok Sabha candidate and sitting MP Bhartruhari Mahatab is the editor of Odia daily 'Prajatantra', Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, the editor of the state's highest circulated newspaper 'Sambad' is a regional party candidate in the Khandapada assembly seat.
Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, a sitting Rajya Sabha MP also owns Kanaka TV. Former four-time MP Baijayant Panda's wife Jagi Mangat Panda is the co-founder of Odisha Television Limited.
Panda is a BJP candidate from the Kendrapara Lok Sabha seat. His family's OTV is considered as the most popular news channel in the state.
Similarly, the owner of Kalinga TV Achyuta Samanta and proprietor of News World Odisha Rabindra Jena are contesting as BJD's Lok Sabha candidates from Kandhamal and Balasore Lok Sabha seats respectively.
Congress candidate from Jagatsinghpur assembly segment Chiranjibi Biswal's family runs 'Samaya', an Odia daily.
However, four-time BJD MP Tathagat Satpathy, who is editor of Odia daily 'Dharitri' and English daily 'Orissa Post' this time preferred not to contest the polls.
There are 21 Lok Sabha and 147 assembly seats in the state. Counting of votes will be held on May 23.