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Odisha Handloom Sarees A Favourite of These Indian Women Politicians

New Delhi: Sarees have been the chosen official dress code of most women politicians in India right from the time of Sarojini Naidu. The tradition was carried on by Indira Gandhi. Later, many others like Jayalalitha, Sushma Swaraj, Sonia Gandhi, Kanimozhi, Pratibha Patil, Smriti Irani followed suit. Of course, there are exceptions like Mayawati, who has never been seen in a saree.

The few times that Priyanka Gandhi stepped out wearing jeans and a shirt in the early days of her political career she faced a backlash.

Odisha handloom seems to be the favourite of many women politicians when it comes to selecting their six yards for a special occasion. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman wore one a second time while presenting her fourth Union Budget in Parliament on Tuesday. In 2019, she wore a blue Sambalpuri weave during the Union Budget discussion in Rajya Sabha. As Defence Minister too, she was spotted wearing a traditional block-pattern Sambalpuri saree in office.

The FM has made her love for Odisha handloom known. In 2019, she tweeted, “Silk or cotton, Orissa-handloom sarees are one of my favourites- the colour, the weave, the texture, just so good. (sic).”

Indira Gandhi

The country’s first woman Prime Minister popularised the Sambalpuri saree and was often seen wearing one. Her daughters-in-law Sonia Gandhi and Maneka Gandhi and granddaughter Priyanka Vadra have carried on the tradition.

Sonia Gandhi

She has been seen in Sambalpuri print sarees and dress materials on numerous occasions. Sambalpuri Ikat is her favourite.

Priyanka Gandhi

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra wore her grandmother Indira Gandhi’s heritage Odisha saree with tribal weaves and a border at a public rally in Amethi in 2009.

Pratibha Devi Singh Patil

The former President of India wore Sambalpuri sarees very often and preferred to keep her pallu over her head.

Sushma Swaraj

The late politician was also often spotted in Odisha handloom, although she always paired her sarees with a jacket.

Smriti Irani

She is another politician who is rarely seen not wearing a saree and has opted for wearing an Odisha handloom on more than one occasion.