Gamang and Pangi families out of fray after five decades in Odisha

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Koraput (Odisha), Apr 4 (PTI) The announcement of Congress party's candidates for Koraput and Nabarangpur Lok Sabha seats highlighted the absence of prominent political families, including those of former Odisha chief minister Giridhar Gamang and ex-Koraput MP Jayaram Pangi.


If they opt not to run as independent candidates, it would be the first time in over five decades that these influential families won't be in the electoral competition in this tribal-dominated district.

Gamang (81), who served as the chief minister of Odisha from February to December 1999, had represented the Koraput Lok Sabha nine times between 1972 and 2004 before facing defeats to the BJD in 2009 and 2014.

Despite his wife, Hema Gamang, also having represented the Koraput Lok Sabha seat in 1999, the landscape changed when the Gamang family switched allegiance from Congress to BJP in 2015, later aligning with Bharat Rashtra Samithi before returning to the grand old party in January.


Although Gamang's son Sisir sought the Nabarangpur Lok Sabha seat, and Hema applied for the Gunupur assembly constituency under Koraput Lok Sabha seat, the denial of tickets to Gamang family members by Congress sidelines them from the electoral process, potentially for the first time since 1972.

According to political observers, the Gamang family’s debacle in electoral politics started in 2009 when Gamang lost the Koraput LS seat on a Congress ticket to his rival BJD’s Jayaram Pangi.

In the same year his wife Hema lost the assembly polls from Gunupur assembly seat.


In 2014, Gamang was again defeated by BJD’s Jhina Hikaka from Koraput LS seat and his wife, who had switched over to BJD from Congress and contested the 2014 assembly poll from Laxmipur lost the election, in spite of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s wave sweeping across the state.

Similarly, Pangi who had entered the state assembly at age 25 by winning the Pottangi assembly constituency under Koraput Lok Sabha seat in 1977 as a Janata Party candidate was denied a Congress ticket despite his recent entry to the party.

Pangi, who had joined the BJP in 2017 before briefly affiliating with the Bharat Rashtra Samithi, expressed shock over ticket selection, indicating a potential grievance against the decision.


In response to the exclusions, Sisir expressed dismay, hinting at a possible challenge to the decision.

"We are shocked over the ticket distribution and will put our grievance before the appropriate authority," said Sisir.

Replying to whether he would file as an independent candidate, Sisir said, "Nothing has been decided. There is time. Let’s see what happens." PTI COR AAM AAM MNB