Jual Oram makes comeback as Cabinet Minister in Modi 3.0

New Delhi/Bhubaneswar, June 9 (UNI) Senior BJP leader Jual Oram, who represents the Sundargarh Lok Sabha constituency in Odisha, on Sunday made a comeback as cabinet minister in the Modi 3.0 government.

Oram, 63, was appointed as India’s first Union Minister for Tribal Affairs in October 1999 by the Atal Behari Vajpayee government. He was given the portfolio again in 2014 when Narendra Modi formed the government. He did not get any ministerial berth in Modi’s second term.

An agriculturalist, engineer, trade unionist, and political worker, Jual Oram has risen from humble beginnings to become a significant figure in Indian politics.

He was born on March 22, 1961, in Kenduadihi, a village in Odisha’s Sundargarh district. Coming from a poor tribal family, he was one of two brothers and three sisters. His family’s struggles with poverty deeply influenced his commitment to uplifting the poor and marginalized communities, leading him to a career in politics.

Oram completed a diploma in electrical engineering and worked for six years as an Assistant Foreman in the Power Group Construction Division of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL). However, driven by a desire to make a broader impact, he left his job in 1989 to join politics.

His political journey began with his election to the Odisha Legislative Assembly from the Bonai constituency in 1990, a victory that marked the start of his enduring political career.

His popularity continued to grow as he took on various roles, including serving in the Odisha Legislative Assembly and participating in several high-profile committees of the Union government and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In 1998, Oram was elected to the 12th Lok Sabha from the Sundargarh constituency.

In October 1999, then PM Vajpayee established a new ministry dedicated to tribal issues for the first time in the country’s history and appointed him as India’s first Union Minister for Tribal Affairs.

Oram’s commitment to tribal welfare saw him re-elected to the Lok Sabha multiple times, including in 2004, 2014, 2019, and finally in 2024.

He played a pivotal role as the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence, contributing to significant discussions and decisions regarding national security and defence policies.

His tenure in the first term of Modi’s cabinet was marked by various initiatives aimed at improving the socio-economic conditions of tribal communities. Jual Oram focused on education, healthcare, and employment, ensuring that the benefits of development reached the most marginalized sections of society.

Throughout his career, Jual Oram has been a staunch advocate for tribal upliftment and the welfare of poorer sections of society. His enduring presence in the Lok Sabha and his roles as both a Member of Parliament and a minister reflect his significant contributions to Indian politics and society.

Jual Oram also played a pivotal role in Odisha politics, serving as the President of the Odisha BJP unit thrice: during 1977-1999, 2004-2006, and 2009-2011. He was also the chief whip of the BJP Parliamentary Party for Odisha during 1998-1999 and is one of the party’s senior-most leaders from the state.

He also served as the party’s national vice-president for the BJP ST Morcha (Scheduled Tribes wing) between 1993 and 1995. After serving two years as national secretary of the party, he was appointed party president for the state unit in 1997 and remained in that position until 1999.

Oram lost from his Sundargarh constituency in 2009. On December 22, 2009, he was made the party president of the state unit for the third time. On May 18, 2014, Oram was re-elected to the Lok Sabha from the Sundargarh constituency after defeating Dilip Tirkey of the Biju Janata Dal. He was also the only candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party to win from Odisha.

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