Titlagarh: With MLA Tukuni Sahoo being sworn in as the Women and Child Development and Mission Shakti Minister Wednesday, the people of Bolangir district were cock-a-hoop as the district got its first woman minister ever.
Tukuni was elected as first-ever woman MLA from Bolangir district in 2014 with a BJD ticket. In the just concluded 2019 general elections, she polled even more votes than what she did in the previous one.
Her induction in the cabinet as a minister is a record in itself for the district. She has become the first woman minister and the eighth in getting a ministerial berth in the cabinet from Bolangir district.
Prior to her, Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo, Ram Prasad Mishra, Ainthu Sahoo, Ananga Udaya Singh Deo, Narasingha Mishra, Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo and Jogendra Behera had their places in the cabinet as ministers.
And with Tukuni Sahu, the Titlagarh Assembly constituency’s 39-year-long wait for a minister has come to an end, some observed. In 1980, Titlagarh MLA Lalit Mohan Gandhi had a place in Janaki Ballabh Patnaik’s cabinet as a Minister of State.
Along with her seniority, loyalty towards the party and organisational acumen have gone a long way in getting Tukuni the berth, it has been said. BJD had fielded Tukuni as its candidate from Titlagarh constituency in 2014 elections after the murder of her husband and state BJD youth general Secretary Abhimanyu Sahu. Tukuni had then fought the elections with the strength of an organisation founded by her husband and the popularity of the Chief Minister. She had won the elections by a margin of more than 14,000 votes.
After her induction into the cabinet Wednesday, hundreds of her supporters here took out a procession through the town which culminated at the Hanuman gymnasium where they garlanded the statue of Abhimanyu. While several known faces like Kalicharan Panua, Ratan Hati along with many others participated in the procession and garlanding ceremony, municipality chairman Gobardhan Nag, senior leader Prem Jain and of their ilk from Titlagarh took part in her swearing-in ceremony held at Exhibition Grounds in Bhubaneswar.