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Felt Hurt at Not Being Appointed Union Minister Again, Says BJP's Tribal Face in Odisha Jual Oram

Oram, a five-term MP and BJP’s tribal face in Odisha, had served as the Union tribal affairs minister in Modi’s first term.

Anand ST Das | News18.com

Updated:June 12, 2019, 8:16 PM IST
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Felt Hurt at Not Being Appointed Union Minister Again, Says BJP's Tribal Face in Odisha Jual Oram
File photo of Union Minister Jual Oram/Facebook

Bhubaneswar: Senior BJP leader and former Union minister Jual Oram felt so hurt at not being appointed a minister in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government that he skipped the oath-taking ceremony on the advice of his wife.

Oram, a five-term MP and BJP’s tribal face in Odisha, had served as the Union tribal affairs minister in Modi’s first term. With the BJP’s Lok Sabha tally in Odisha rising from just one seat in 2014 to eight in the recently concluded general elections, it was widely expected that the MP from Sundargarh would be included in the council of ministers in the NDA-II government.

“I felt hurt. I am also a human being with blood and flesh,” said Oram in an address at a civic felicitation programme at Rourkela.

“I was told by many that my name was being discussed and that it was everywhere in the media. I felt that I was going to get it, but somehow did not. I had gone (to New Delhi) with my wife and I asked her if we should attend the oath-taking ceremony. She did not want to go, saying she felt unwell. So, we both stayed back,” he said in a candid confession.

Oram, who is now being considered for the Lok Sabha Speaker’s post, was given a rousing welcome by the people of Rourkela upon his first visit to the city after becoming MP for the fifth term. He had skipped a core committee meeting of the state BJP in Bhubaneswar last week as he was reportedly unhappy over not being given a cabinet berth.

A week after the oath-taking ceremony of the Union cabinet on May 30, Oram had said, “I had the opportunity to become a Union minister in the previous ministry and some other leader will have the opportunity this time. This is the sign of a healthy democratic tradition.”

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Oram won in Sundargarh constituency with a huge margin of 2.23 lakh votes, beating Sunita Biswal of Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD). In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, he had won from Sundargarh and become the only BJP Lok Sabha member from Odisha. The other 20 Lok Sabha seats in the state were won by the BJD then.

The BJP’s outstanding performance in tribal-dominated western Odisha in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls is attributed by many to Oram’s influence in these parts. Of the eight Lok Sabha seats won by the BJP in Odisha, five were from western areas of the state.

Oram’s exclusion from Modi’s new cabinet was a shock for the BJP and those living in the state’s western districts. Oram has been the tallest tribal leader in Odisha in recent years and has won elections with impressive margins.

When the BJP was a fledgling party in Odisha in the 1990s and Modi was yet to rise on the national political scene, Oram had won as an MLA from Bonai in 1990 and 1995. He had resigned and won the Sundargarh Lok Sabha seat in 1998 with a margin of 1.36 lakh votes. His winning margin in the constituency had risen to 1.52 lakh in 1999. The then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had included Oram in his cabinet, putting him in charge of the newly created tribal affairs ministry.

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