Mohan Charan Majhi, BJP’s vocal tribal leader who attends all village functions

His performance in Odisha Assembly stood out during 2019-2024, when he introduced 7 Bills, including one for protection of whistle-blowers

Updated - June 12, 2024 12:50 am IST

Published - June 11, 2024 11:07 pm IST - BHUBANESWAR

Mohan Charan Majhi meets Odisha Governor Raghubar Das at Raj Bhavan in Bhubaneswar on June 11, 2024 after he was announced as the new Chief Minister of the State.

Mohan Charan Majhi meets Odisha Governor Raghubar Das at Raj Bhavan in Bhubaneswar on June 11, 2024 after he was announced as the new Chief Minister of the State. | Photo Credit: ANI

Mohan Charan Majhi, a four-time MLA with roots in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has been chosen the new Chief Minister of Odisha, marking the end of the BJP’s four-decade-long pursuit of power in the State.

The 52-year-old will be sworn in as the BJP’s first Chief Minister in Odisha on June 12. A member of the Santali tribe, he hails from Raikala village in the mineral-rich Keonjhar district.

As a prominent tribal face of the BJP, he was first elected to the Odisha Legislative Assembly in 2000 and again in 2004. However, he lost his seat in the 2009 and 2014 elections after the BJP-BJD alliance broke down.

Sarpanch and teacher

After making a modest beginning as the sarpanch of the Raikala panchayat, Mr. Majhi gradually ascended the political ladder. In addition to his political career, he briefly worked as a teacher at Saraswati Sishu Mandir, a school affiliated with the Sangh Parivar.

Mr. Majhi, a law graduate with a Master’s in Arts, returned to the Assembly in 2019. His performance stood out during the five-year term from 2019 to 2024 when the voice of the 23 BJP MLAs was usually overshadowed by the 112 MLAs of the BJD in the Assembly.

Mr. Majhi had introduced seven private member’s Bills, including the Odisha Whistle Blowers’ Protection Bill, 2020; the Odisha Mahila Gram Sabha Bill, 2021; the Reservation of One-third of Employment in Government Posts and Services for Odisha Government School Students Bill, 2021; the Odisha Ground Water (Protection, Conservation, Regulation and Management) Bill, 2023; and Odisha Apartment (Ownership and Management) Bill, 2023.

BJP supporters celebrate in Bhubaneswar on June 11, 2024, after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced that BJP MLA Mohan Charan Majhi would be the new Chief Minister of Odisha.

BJP supporters celebrate in Bhubaneswar on June 11, 2024, after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced that BJP MLA Mohan Charan Majhi would be the new Chief Minister of Odisha. | Photo Credit: ANI

As the Chief Whip of the BJP in 16th Odisha Legislative Assembly, Mr. Majhi participated in probably the highest number of discussions, be it during adjournment motion or zero hour.  Mr. Majhi, who was national secretary of the BJP ST Morcha, always stood up for tribal cause.

His rich experience as the Government Deputy Chief Whip in the 13th Assembly, the Chief Whip of the BJP Legislature Party since 2019 and the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee from 2022 would help him manage government affairs.

Flagged corruption

A native of Keonjhar, which boasts India’s largest iron ore deposits in one district, Mr. Majhi has been particularly vocal about the irregularities in the mining sector. During the BJD rule, he was at the forefront in flagging corruption in the utilisation of massive funds under the District Mineral Foundation.

According to his confidants, Mr. Majhi hardly misses social functions in every village coming under his Assembly constituency. He personally intervenes to get patients admitted in bigger hospitals. It was his empathy for people that helped him win four terms as MLA in the past 24 years.

On the proudest day of his life, he took time out to console family members of his personal assistant, who died in a road accident on Tuesday. Once the post-mortem got over, Mr. Majhi returned to party MLAs’ meeting.

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