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Tribal Odisha woman becomes country's youngest MP after twist of fate

Chandrani Murmu, a tribal woman, has made history after winning the Lok Sabha seat from Keonjhar in Odisha. She has become the youngest Member of Parliament (MP) at the age of 25 years and 11 months.

Murmu, an engineering graduate, was just another girl seeking a job after obtaining her B.Tech degree. However, in a twist of fate, Murmu of Tikargumura village in Keonjhar district was fielded as a candidate by Naveen Patnaik's Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

She defeated two-time BJP MP Ananta Nayak by a margin of 67,822 votes to win the Keonjhar Lok Sabha seat. Earlier, Dushyant Chautala from Hisar Constituency in Haryana, the grandson of noted politician Om Prakash Chautala, was the youngest member of the 16th Lok Sabha.

"I was in a search for a job after completing my engineering degree. I had never thought that I would enter politics and become an MP. My nomination was unexpected and came out of the blue," said Chandrani.

Murmu completed her schooling from NS Police high school in Keonjhar and from Naidu classes in Bhubaneswar. She has also obtained a B.Tech degree from SOA University. Chandrani Murmu won the Keonjhar Lok Sabha seat with over five lakh votes.

Chandrani's father, Sanjiv Murmu, is a government employee and mother Urbashi Soren a housewife.

Her poll campaign faced hurdles when some people launched a smear campaign against her and released a morphed video on social media in a bid to derail her electoral prospects. While she was upset with the development, the young parliamentarian said she was happy that truth prevailed at the end.

It seems that Odisha Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik's move to reserve 33 per cent seats for women in Lok Sabha from Odisha has played out well for the party. At least five women of the BJD's 12 winning candidates swept the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

The women candidates of Odisha's ruling party included Pramila Bisoyi from Aska, Chandrani Murmu from Keonjhar, Rajashiree Mallick from Jagathsighpur, Sarmistha Sethy from Jajpur and Manjulata Mandal from Bhadrak.