Keonjhar: At 26, she might appear to be a little naive in the political battlefield; but then, a small talk and all the fine ingredients of a seasoned politician become apparent. Granddaughter of a former MP, she knows how to face adversity, adversaries in politics and use opportunities to maximize gains. They say ‘never judge a book by its cover’. It couldn’t have been truer.
At a time when she was looking for an employment opportunity after finishing her engineering degree, opportunity came knocking on her door to contest Lok Sabha polls. To top it up, she was offered a BJD ticket, which is the most sought after party at the moment. She obviously didn’t let it pass.
Your guess has hit the nail on its head. The person we are talking about is none other than Chandrani Murmu, BJD’s candidate for Keonjhar Lok Sabha seat.
Thursday she managed to find us some time from her hectic campaign schedule and had a formal tête-à-tête with this correspondent.
As the discussion progressed, she revealed the new routine of her life.
The young politician gets up at 5.30am each morning. After finishing the daily chores, she prefers some fruits and flattened rice with banana as breakfast. Then she is out for campaigning across her constituency. Apart from attending programmes fixed by the party, she goes straight to the people in her constituency.
“Sometimes I have to skip my lunches for campaigning. Whatever I get, I try to manage with that. But rice is my all time favourite. If chicken curry is available, repast is complete. I like to have either rice or roti in dinner,” she says as she goes through some text on her mobile phone.
Regarding her being targeted and pilloried by opposition in social media platforms, she says, “they are trying to tarnish my reputation”.
“The oppositions’ action is the reaction of their fear of my reputation. However, their effort to dilute my reputation is pathetic. It is disrespect to the whole woman community. Legal action is surely being taken against them,” she observes.
“Somewhere in a corner of my heart, I always had a desire to enter politics. However, never expected it to come by so soon. My uncle is to be thanked for all of this. I was in search of a government job when I got the opportunity, totally unexpectedly,” she reveals while adding, “in the very first two days after my name was announced, I witnessed myself changing to a very different lifestyle altogether. There is hell and heaven difference between what I used to be earlier and what I am now,” she mentions.
Regarding her recent brushing shoulders with seasoned politicians, reminiscing her past days, she says, “I never think of myself as a new entrant to politics. I spent my childhood days at my uncle’s. My grandfather Harihar Soren was an MP. I watched him closely – the way he worked, the way he solved issues of his constituents etc. I feel I have inherited some of his qualities”.
“I wish to be there with the people so that I can understand their issues better and can work towards solving them. I will ensure the benefits of various government schemes reach the targeted beneficiaries.”
Regarding the support of Keonjhar strongman Sanatan Mahakud to her candidature, while some of the BJD leaders and workers are disillusioned, she clarifies, “I am a BJD candidate. My party’s supremo Naveen Patnaik has given me the ticket. I am contesting the election with the BJD symbol. I am working, and will always be working for BJD. Besides, I have the blessings of Sanatan Mahakud. He has also earlier proclaimed that he supports my candidature. There is no question of turning down his support “.
“Wherever I am going, I am overwhelmed to see the kind of encouragement people shower on me. Particularly women always come forward in support of me. They voluntarily assist me in campaigning. It gives me immense pleasure and a sense of deep confidence,” she adds.
Opposition leaders propagated that I have three fathers. With this baseless allegation they wanted to corner me. Can anyone have three fathers? Sanjeev Murmu is my father. The oppositions’ false propaganda hurt me to the core,” she ends and withdraws to talk to some of her party workers and supporters.