A firebrand tribal leader who created history by becoming India’s first tribal affairs minister in the Vajpayee government, Jual Oram was a face saver for BJP in 2014 lok sabha polls being the party’s lone winner from Odisha.
The 53-year-old BJP stalwart, who had a 6-year long stint in a public sector company before jumping into politics, prevented BJP from drawing a blank this time as in 2009 polls when he won from Sundagarh Lok Sabha constituency.
With his victory over former hockey captain and BJD nominee Dilip Tirkey at the hustings when the regional party swept the polls in Odisha, the four-time Lok Sabha member had brightened the prospects of finding a ministerial berth in Narendra Modi cabinet.
Oram, who had played a significant role in strengthening BJP’s organisation in Odisha during his tenure as the state party unit president, had represented Sundargarh in Lok Sabha from 1998 but he lost in 2009 polls.
Hailing from a poor tribal family of a remote village in Odisha’s Sundargarh district, Oram created history of sorts when he was made the first Tribal Affairs minister at the Centre.
For the first time, this ministry was created during the then BJP-led NDA government and Atal Bihari Vajpayee entrusted Oram with the job.
A lover of sports who always remained concerned for the welfare of the poor and downtrodden, Oram had worked for about six years in a public sector company with his diploma in electrical engineering before he decided to join politics.
Presently national vice-president of BJP, he has held several important posts including MLA and MP.
Popularly known as Juel Bhai, Oram happens to be a keen lover of tribal culture and traditions and has been playing a major role in proper preservation of indigenous life style in tribal dominated areas.
A tech savvy leader, Oram was in news for leading an agitation against a proposed iron ore mining in Khandadhar belt in Sundargarh pleading that it would jeopardise the interests of tribals.