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Three Odisha faces in Modi govt 3.0: Who are Jual Oram, Dharmendra Pradhan, Ashwini Vaishnaw?

With Odisha one of the brightest spots in the BJP’s Lok Sabha election showing, the party is set to appoint its popular tribal face from the state and six-time Sundargarh MP Jual Oram, Sambalpur MP Dharmendra Pradhan, and the party’s Rajya Sabha MP from the state Ashwini Vaishnaw to the Union Council of Ministers.

With the BJP assuming power in Odisha for the first time, both Oram and Pradhan were considered front-runners for the post of Chief Minister.

Oram, 63, served as the Union Cabinet Minister twice in the past. In his second term as an MP in 1999, Oram was assigned to head the tribal affairs ministry after the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government set up the ministry following the bifurcation of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. He was re-inducted again in 2014 when Narendra Modi assumed power for the first time and again got the tribal affairs portfolio.

In the just-concluded elections, Oram defeated hockey icon and BJD candidate Dilip Tirkey from his traditional base Sundargarh by more than 1.38 lakh votes. Oram, who won the seat five times between 1998 and 2019, made an emotional pitch during the campaign, seeking votes in what he billed as his “last election”.

The decision to include Oram in the Union Cabinet is also seen as the BJP’s attempt to further strengthen its base among the tribals in Odisha, who comprise around 23% of the population. Oram is also known as a strong critic of outgoing CM Naveen Patnaik.

Born into a poor tribal family in Kendudihi village in Sundargarh district, Oram completed his engineering degree in 1982 and worked in Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited before entering politics. Oram was elected to the state Assembly first in 1990 from the Bonai Assembly seat and again re-elected in

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