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Chandrani Murmu, a first time entrant to the electoral arena, has made history by winning the Keonjhar seat and becoming the youngest member of Parliament.
She was a simple lady with pretty down to earth aspirations. After acquiring an engineering degree from ITER, Bhubaneswar, in 2017, she was hunting for a job – perhaps a government job or one in a bank or the private sector. But Fate had greater plans for her.
The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) was on the lookout for an educated young woman to contest from Keonjhar, a reserved tribal constituency in Odisha. This area is mineral-rich but severly undeveloped! The party contacted her through her maternal uncle, Harmohan Soren, and enquired if she would like to contest. Although she had no experience in politics and was very young, in fact just twenty five years old, she accepted. That decision changed her life!
After taking the plunge into politics, she took up her role seriously. Her first task, as she recounts in this interview to the Indian Express, was to hone her public speaking skills; as she put it, “every word I utter is important, I have to be very careful about what I speak.”
The campaign in her constituency was hectic. Traveling in an open jeep on a road show and that too in a sari was something she was unused to. But nothing deterred her from her aim. She knew she needed to win the voters’ confidence. At the time of filing her nomination, she had been a little unsure of people’s faith in her. However, during her campaign she realized that people had great love for her and for her party, which boosted her confidence.
Since her candidature was announced on April 2, her opponents threw many impediments in her path but the gutsy lady remained unperturbed. Her main contender was former MP and BJP nominee Anant Nayak. Determined to win, his party reported discrepancies found in her father’s name to the Chief Electoral Officer. Even obscene photoshopped videos of hers were circulated on social media. But the culprits were soon tracked down and action was taken.
Was Murmu nervous or shaken? It appears not, as she recounts, “I never thought there would be a slanderous campaign against me. No woman should be subjected to such humiliation.” Her people’s faith and love strengthened her self-confidence.
Her most valuable experience of campaigning was her travel with the Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik on a helicopter! While traversing her constituency, she says that learned more about the grave issues faced by people – drinking water and unemployment. Her stated goal was to address these issues, if elected.
Her hard and sincere work has been lavishly rewarded. She won the election with a fantastic number of votes! She had defeated the two- time MP Anant Nayak by an unbelievable margin of 66,203 votes! This young woman will enter the Lok Sabha as its youngest female Parliamentarian, and may be sworn in as MP before turning 26 on June 16th!
Congratulations and great luck to Chandrani Murmu. May she create history in developing her state, ‘A rich land with poor people’ into a rich land with rich people!
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