Jatindra Dash / IANS
Bhubaneswar, May 26 :
Jual Oram, who got a cabinet berth in the Narendra Modi government, was the sole BJP MP to save the party’s face in Odisha by denying Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal a complete whitewash.
The 53-year old tribal leader wrested back his Sundergarh constituency, which he lost in the 2009 election, despite a massive wave in favour of Patnaik’s party which got 20 of the state’s 21 Lok Sabha seats as well as retaining power in the state.
He defeated former chief minister Hemananda Biswal of Congress and former India hockey captain Dilip Tirkey of the BJD.
A firebrand leader, Oram, who is a diploma holder in electrical engineering, worked for five years with public sector undertaking Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) before joining politics in 1990.
A two-time legislator and four-time Lok Sabha member, he created history by becoming India’s first tribal affairs minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1999.
Oram has worked for the party in various capacities including as its state unit president for a number of times.
Known for his humility and mass contact approach, Oram was born in a poor tribal family at Kendudihi village in Sundargarh district March 22, 1961.
The tech-savvy leader is one of the few state politicians to have his own website, and also uses social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook extensively to connect with his fans and supporters.
Known for taking a strong stand on many issues, Oram had shot into the limelight when he criticised Patnaik over South Korean company Posco’s $12 billion steel project in the state.
He had openly opposed the proposal of handing over the Khandadhar iron ore mine located in his constituency to the company at a time when his party was in alliance with the BJD.