Odisha, located on the eastern coast of India, has a rich political history that dates back centuries. From being ruled by monarchs and British colonialists to achieving independence and becoming a state in post-independence India, Odisha has undergone several significant changes in its political landscape. This article will explore the political history of Odisha and its current political landscape.
Early Political History:
Before the arrival of British colonialists, Odisha was ruled by various kings and dynasties. The Kalinga empire, ruled by Emperor Ashoka, is one of the most prominent examples of ancient Odisha’s political history. The Mauryan Empire also had significant influence in the region. After the fall of the Mauryan Empire, several smaller kingdoms emerged, such as the Kalinga kingdom, which later became the Utkala kingdom.
The British colonialists arrived in Odisha in the early 18th century and gradually expanded their control over the region. Odisha was initially a part of Bengal Presidency but was later made a separate province in 1936. During the colonial era, Odisha was also a hotbed for several nationalist movements, such as the Non-Cooperation movement and the Quit India movement.
Odisha became a state in independent India on April 1, 1936. The state has had a unique political landscape since its formation. The Congress Party has dominated the state’s politics for most of its post-independence history. In 1950, the first general elections in Odisha were held, and the Congress Party won a majority of seats. The state has seen several Congress Chief Ministers, including Harekrushna Mahatab, Biju Patnaik, and J.B. Patnaik.
The 1970s saw the emergence of several regional parties in Odisha. The Utkal Congress and the Jana Congress were among the first regional parties in the state. In 1972, Biju Patnaik formed the Janata Dal party, which later merged with the Samajwadi Party in 1999.
Current Political Landscape:
The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is the ruling party in Odisha since 2000. The party was formed in 1997 by Biju Patnaik’s son, Naveen Patnaik. The BJD has won every state election since its formation, and Naveen Patnaik has been the Chief Minister of Odisha since 2000.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been trying to make inroads in Odisha’s politics and won eight out of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 general elections. The Congress Party, which has been in decline in the state for the past few decades, won only one Lok Sabha seat in the same elections.
Odisha has come a long way since its early days as a part of ancient empires. From being ruled by monarchs and colonialists to achieving independence and becoming a state in post-independence India, the state has undergone several significant changes in its political landscape. Today, the BJD is the ruling party, and the BJP is the main opposition party in the state. As Odisha continues to grow and develop, its political landscape is likely to evolve even further.
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