Balangir, which had a glorious past of having the first x-ray machine as well as the printing press in Odisha, a transport system, and the facility of power generation through a generator, has significantly attracted the attention of several as a royal couple here is contesting Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
Patna State was a princely state in the Eastern States Agency of India during the British Raj. It had its capital at Balangir.
Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo, who belongs to the erstwhile royal family of Patna (in Odisha’s Balangir), is contesting the Assembly election from Patnagarh on a BJP ticket, while his wife Sangeeta Singh Deo has been fielded by the BJP from Balangir Lok Sabha, which is going to poll on May 20.
Sangeeta Deo said on Sunday that both of them are working together in the service of the people, adding that the fight is to make Narendra Modi the Prime Minister for the third term.
“I feel the people have faith in the royal family as they have seen our performance, and we have dedicated our lives to the service of the people without expecting anything in return. My husband is also contesting the election for the state assembly seat that comes within my Lok Sabha constituency, and we together work in the service of the people. The fight is to make PM Modi the PM for the third term,” she told ANI.
While Sangeeta is campaigning extensively to retain her Lok Sabha seat and become MP for the fifth time, Kanak Vardhan is ready to retake the Patnagarh Assembly seat, which he has represented multiple times.
Pitching issues like migration, the development of Odisha’s western part, and the availability of adequate irrigation facilities, the royal couple is carrying out extensive campaigns.
Kanak Vardhan urged the voters to vote for the BJP and for PM Modi to bring a double-engine government to the state.
“I have always been in the Assembly of the opposition party, the BJP. This time I am asking people to vote for the BJP and for PM Modi to make a double-engine government in the state to let the central government’s schemes reach the people of the state. People are accepting this. Due to the lack of development in Western Odisha, people migrate to other states of India. The procurement policy of the government is faulty,” the BJP leader said.
Kanak Vardhan is the grandson of Odisha’s first CM from the royal family, the late Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo, who served as the state’s CM in 1967.
“People are accepting that slogan of double-engine government given by PM Modi because they are deprived of the benefit of central schemes like PM Awas and others,” he said, alleging that not a single house was allocated in five parliamentary constituencies of western Odisha and all the houses were given in the coastal belt.
“Due to a lack of development in western Odisha, people have to migrate (for employment) to other parts of the country,” Kanak Vardhan said, adding that the establishment of agro-based industries and the development of irrigation facilities for farming activities are necessary to deal with the issue of migration.

Due to the faulty procurement policy of the state government, farmers have to suffer a lot, he further said.
When asked how the glorious history of Balangir will be regained, he said that changes come everywhere with time. By highlighting the glorious history, heritage and places with immense potential of tourism, the glory of Balangir could be restored.
“I am very hopeful that India will again become ‘Sone Ki Chidiya’. People have to change their habits. It could be understood with a small example that PM Modi had posted a picture of him from a small island, following which domestic tourism got a major boost,” said the BJP leader.
Notably, the grandfather of the MLA candidate was the first to bring a law to ban the slaughtering of cow and make a provision for a fine but over a period of time, the fine became nominal (in context to the present time).
With passing time, the state government must have renewed it and controlled the sale of cattle, but the government failed to do so, said the BJP candidate.
Sharing the glorious past of Balangir, the leader said that at the time of state (referring to erstwhile Patna state of Balangir), the first x-ray machine was installed in Balangir hospital, and the first road transport system (which later became Odisha Road Transport Corporation) was in Balangir and known as Patna State Road Transport Corporation. Moreover, the state had the facility of power generation through a generator and the power was being supplied in Balangir. The state also had a printing press.
He further said that the state government did not make any attempt to modernise the printing press, following which it turned outdated (after the arrival of computers), said the leader, adding that if the state government would like to operate it after modernising, then jobs could be created.
Calling development the key issue in the area, Kanak said, “Development is the key issue; the development of our district, Patnagarh, and the development of ensuring the facility of water, be it for the purpose of drinking or irrigation.”
He further elaborated that the establishment of agro-based industries and cold storage could deal with the problem of migration, and boosting tourism would generate job opportunities.
The Assembly and Lok Sabha polls in the BJD-ruled state are being held across four phases – from May 13 to June 1. The counting of votes will be held on June 4.
Polling for the first phase was conducted in 28 Assembly seats and four Lok Sabha constituencies on May 13. In the fifth phase, 35 Assembly seats and five Lok Sabha constituencies will vote on May 20, 42 Assembly segments and six Lok Sabha seats on May 25 and the remaining 42 Assembly seats and six Lok Sabha constituencies in the last phase on June 1. The results will be out on June 4.
In the last assembly elections in 2019, the BJD won 112 out of 146 seats, while the BJP had to settle for just 23 seats and the Congress finished at 9.
In the Lok Sabha elections in the same year, the BJD mopped up the lion’s share of the electoral spoils, with the BJP and the Congress bringing up the rear. The BJD won 12 seats, the BJP finished a close second at 8, and the Congress bagged just a lone seat. (ANI)