Kolkata: The story of ‘Chandu’ is like any other girl from a small village who aspires to achieve big in life. But this girl next door never thought that she will create history by becoming the youngest female Member of Parliament in this Lok Sabha election. Contesting on Biju Janata Dal's ticket from Keonjhar (reserved for Scheduled Tribes), she defeated two-time BJP MP Ananta Nayak by a margin of 67,822 votes.
Meet Chandrani Murmu – also known as ‘Hira’ or ‘Chandu’ to family and friends – who not only stunned the nation by defeating a seasoned BJP politician at the age of 25 but also planned her target for the next five years with the aim to uplift the people in her ‘mineral rich’ constituency.
When asked how she is feeling after becoming the youngest woman MP, Chandrani Murmu, said, “If you ask me honestly, it’s like a fairy tale for me. I was looking for a government job but I landed into politics. I was approached to contest the poll. All happened out of the blue. I don’t know why and how this happened to me. I think this is purely god’s wish.”
In 2017, she did her BTech from Siksha 'O' Anusandhan University in Bhubaneswar and was trying for a government job to support her parents.
In March, her uncle Harmohan Soren – a retired government official and currently a social worker in Keonjhar – casually asked her to contest the Lok Sabha polls. Chandu laughed at the suggestion and did not take it seriously.
However, Harmohan, who was serious about the matter, insisted that she contest on the BJD ticket. Working in her favour were factors such as her excellent communication skills, her educational back ground and the fact that she was widely liked by everyone and treated as daughter of the village. Being reserved for Scheduled Tribes – Harmohan thought that she is the right candidate to take on BJP.
Being a social worker, Harmohan was known to few BJD leaders and the matter reached Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s office. It was like dream come true for Chandu as she got a message to meet Patnaik at his office on April 1.
Sharing her experience after meeting the chief minister, Chandrani Murmu, said, “That day, I could not believe that I am actually standing in front of my chief minister. He asked me to work hard and congratulated me. On April 2, I was given the ticket and on May 23, with the support of people I defeated Ananta sir of BJP.”
Chandrani Murmu’s father Sanjiv Murmu is a government employee while her mother Urvashi retired as a government worker from ICDS department. “No one in my family was in politics except my maternal grandfather was Keonjhar MP Harihar Soren. I think it’s because of him, I have a sense of politics in me. I will give my best in the Parliament and being the youngest MP, I will try to learn from my seniors,” she added.
Chandrani Murmu is aware that representing Keonjhar is challenging because it provides nearly 23% of iron ore reserves and mineral in India. “I know the difficulties and issues here. But I think being the daughter of Keonjhar, people here will provide all support for the betterment of tribal people in this area,” she added.
The district lags in many human development indices. So much so, it has earned the epithet, ‘A rich land with poor people’.
“I am aware of the tag attached to Keonjhar. Since the announcement of my candidature was made only a few weeks before filing of nomination, I did not have enough time to visit all corners of Keonjhar. Frankly speaking, I am not aware of the challenges I have to face being a people’s representative. My first priority will be to know the constituency and spend as much as time with the people,” she said.
Her father Sanjiv is very happy and he believes that his daughter will fulfil the expectation of the people living in Keonjhar.
In 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, Dushyant Chautala defeated Kuldeep Bishnoi of the Haryana Janhit Congress (BL) by a margin of 31,847 votes and became the youngest ever elected Member of the Parliament for which he holds a record in the ‘Limca Book of Records’. Later he was expelled from Indian National Lok Dal and he launched a new party Jannayak Janata Party (JJP).