Mohan Charan Majhi’s incredible political journey from sarpanch to Odisha CM

An RSS member from his student days, 53-year-old Majhi started his political career as the sarpanch of Raikala in 1992 and continued in the post till 1997.
Odisha Chief Minister designate Mohan Charan Majhi
Odisha Chief Minister designate Mohan Charan MajhiPhoto | Express

BHUBANESWAR: From a sarpanch of Raikala gram panchayat in the backward district of Keonjhar to the first BJP chief minister of Odisha, the journey has been incredible for CM designate Mohan Charan Majhi.

An RSS member from his student days, 53-year-old Majhi started his political career as the sarpanch of Raikala in 1992 and continued in the post till 1997. Chhotray Majhi, a close associate of former chief minister Biju Patnaik, a member of his cabinet and Majhi’s distant relative, had helped the CM designate in his initial period.

After his stint in grassroots politics, Majhi joined as a Guruji in Saraswati Sishu Vidya Mandir at Jhumpura in Keonjhar in 1997. He continued teaching for three years till 2000 when the BJP gave him a ticket to contest from Keonjhar Sadar Assembly seat.

In 2000, the alliance between BJD and BJP was forged. Keonjhar was allocated to the BJP in the seat-sharing deal between the two alliance partners. Though Jogendra Naik was the BJP MLA from Keonjhar from 1995 to 2000, the BJP was in search of a new face to replace the sitting legislator.

During this period, the BJP leadership spotted Majhi, a young man with RSS background and a teacher in the Saraswati Sishu Vidya Mandir. Since then, there was no looking back for him. From 2000, he won from Keonjhar for two consecutive times. He was defeated twice in 2009 and 2014 but continued his work at the grassroots level.

Majhi bounced back in the 2019 election and was elected from Keonjhar seat again. As the Opposition chief whip in the Assembly for five years, he targeted the BJD government in the state. He played a key role in the Assembly in putting the ruling outfit in embarrassing situations. Leading from the front, he brought many irregularities to the fore. A law graduate, Majhi has a good understanding of the Assembly matters.

Majhi belongs to the Santali community and is known for his public service and organisational skills. He was the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in the last Assembly. Besides, he was a member of the Standing Committee of SC and ST under the ORV Act. He was also the government deputy chief whip from 2005 till 2009 when BJD ran a coalition government with the BJP.

Apart from politics and RSS organisational work, Majhi has interest in football. He used to play football in his younger days and Raikala village still has his team. Majhi is involved in a football tournament organised annually in Raikala.

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