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HomeNews ReportsGuruji of RSS-affiliated school, firebrand tribal leader, and Four-time MLA: Mohan Charan Majhi takes...

Guruji of RSS-affiliated school, firebrand tribal leader, and Four-time MLA: Mohan Charan Majhi takes oath as first BJP Chief Minister of Odisha

Last year in September, Mohan Charan Majhi staged a protest in the state assembly along with BJP’s Dalit legislator Mukesh Mahaling to highlight the alleged Rs 700-crore scam in the purchase of pulses for the mid-day meal scheme.

On Wednesday (12th June), BJP’s popular tribal leader, Mohan Charan Majhi, took oath as the 15th Chief Minister of Odisha, making him the saffron party’s inaugural CM in India’s eastern state.

First-time MLA Pravati Parida and six-time legislator Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo were sworn in as his two deputies. Senior BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP CM Yogi Adityanath, attended the ceremony. Additionally, former state CM and BJD leader Naveen Patnaik was also present during the swearing-in ceremony.

Odisha CM Majhi has become the first leader from the tribal-dominated Keonjhar district to hold the topmost position in the state. He hails from the Santhali tribe and is seen as a firebrand tribal leader. He shares Santhal roots with India’s first Adivasi President, Droupadi Murmu, who also comes from the same tribe. The development is being viewed as a strategic move by the BJP months ahead of the assembly elections in predominantly tribal Jharkhand. Additionally, tribals have a dominant presence in Odisha, constituting around 23% of the state’s population.

He has been a strong organisational leader with firm links with the RSS. Throughout his career, he has taken on multiple roles including farmer, teacher in an RSS-affiliated school, sarpanch, advocate for Adivasi rights, and crusader against the mining mafia. In the past, he has served as the secretary of BJP’s Adivasi Morcha. He is married to Priyanka Marandi and the couple have two sons.

Majhi grew up in Raikala within the Keonjhar Sadar region. After studying law, he briefly taught at the RSS-run Saraswati Shisu Vidya Mandir before venturing into politics. The four-time MLA from Keonjhar, Mohan Majhi has an over two-decade-long political career which began in 1997. He was a village council chief (sarpanch) from 1997-2000.

In 2000, he was elected to the state assembly for the first time from Keonjhar and was re-elected in 2004. From 2005 to 2009, he served as the government deputy chief whip in the BJD-BJP coalition government. In 2019, he was again elected as an MLA, and after winning the 2019 assembly elections, he was appointed as the opposition chief whip in the Odisha Assembly. In the recent polls, he retained the Keonjhar seat by defeating BJD’s Mina Majhi by a margin of 11,577 votes. 

He was once forced to sleep on footpaths for several days due to a delay in the allotment of a quarter to him when he was elected to the assembly from Keonjhar in 2019.

Addressing the assembly, Majhi once recounted his experience of spending multiple nights on a footpath due to the delayed allocation of a government quarter. He informed the then assembly speaker, S N Patro, that he couldn’t secure accommodation on short notice and that his mobile phone was stolen while he slept outdoors.

Interestingly, the outgoing CM Naveen Patnaik has resided in his private residence in Bhubaneswar for the past 24 years. Consequently, the general administration department is now searching for a new state Chief Minister’s residence.

In 2022, Majhi warned the assembly about threats to some MLAs from the mining mafia. The year before, he survived an attack in Keonjhar when assailants on motorbikes threw crude bombs at his vehicle.

Last year in September, he staged a protest in the state assembly along with BJP’s Dalit legislator Mukesh Mahaling to highlight the alleged Rs 700-crore scam in the purchase of pulses for the mid-day meal scheme. However, former speaker Pramila Mallik suspended him along with Mahaling alleging that he threw uncooked dal at her, an allegation he had firmly denied.

Ahead of his swearing-in ceremony, Mohan Manjhi said that protecting Odisha’s ‘Asmita’ (pride) will be the priority of the new government.

Two Deputy Chief Ministers

Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo who has been chosen as the Deputy CM of the state, is a six-time MLA from Patnagarh in Balanagir District. He hails from the Kshatriya community and belongs to the royal family of Patnagarh, a notable area in western Odisha. Although he lost the election in 2019, he secured victory in 2024. He has also served as a minister in the previous BJD-BJP coalition government. He has previously served as the State President of BJP. His grandfather, Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo, was a former CM of Odisha. His wife, Sangeeta Singh Deo, is currently the MP from Balangir.

Pravati Parida who has also been chosen as the Deputy CM of the state is a first-time MLA from Nimapada of Puri District in coastal Odisha. He hails from the Khandayat community among the OBCs. She had earlier served as the president of the party’s women’s wing in Odisha between 2016 and 2022. From 2022 onwards, she was the state Vice President of the party. 

(With Inputs from ANI)

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