The newly elected MP from Balasore, Odisha Pratap Chandra Sarangi, is a well known face of Indian politics now-a-days. The 64-year-old MP, who stays in a thatched hut, rides a bicycle and lives a really simple life has took oath as a minister of state of the Modi government. As per his affidavit Sarangi has no vehicle, jewelry, no liabilities and he also has not paid any income tax in the last five years, still now a part of Modi 2.0 cabinet.
This Aam Aadmi-cum-politician fondly called as ‘Nana’ in his locality and widely known as ‘Odisha’s Modi’ for his austere lifestyle. This bachelor MP was the president of Odisha Bajrang Dal. He served as the state vice president of the BJP from October 2014 to January 2015 and also worked as the joint secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad of Odisha.
In the 80’s Pratap Chandra Sarangi had started many Ekal Vidyalayas (village schools with a single local teacher)in the interior of Odisha and these schools take in students up to class 3 to 5, are run by the educated youth of the related villages. The salary of these single-teacher schools is collected by the villagers. He became MLA of Nilgiri twice in 2004 and 2009. The Old Brahmin Sarangi calls himself as a foot soldier of Modi and accredits his victory to his simplicity, honesty, nobility and dedication.
The newly sworn-in Cabinet minister Pratap Chandra Sarangi defeated two of the richest and high profile candidates of Odisha in this 2019 Lok Sabha Election from Balasore Parliamentary Constituency. One is industrialist and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP candidate Rabindra Jena and another one is Odisha Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik’s son Navajyoti Patnaik . In 2019 general election, Sarangi won by 12,000 votes against Rabindra Jena.
However, unlike other contestants, who campaigned in a fleet of SUVs to traverse the constituency and gave commission to professional campaign managers and election management agencies, Sarangi campaigned with Auto rickshaw rallies. He has always seen in a pair of white cotton kurta-pyjamas and called himself a social worker.
“I am fortunate that PM Modi has placed his trust on me and I consider politics as a medium to serve the nation. Our party stands for- nation first, party second and self last. I will try my best to win the trust of Modi ji and common people.” said Union Minister Pratap Sarangi.
When somebody questioned him about his lifestyle he politely answered, “my lifestyle has been like this since childhood. It is not going to change with power. I believe in meeting the basic needs of life and working for the people and the country.”
Sarangi has been living alone after the death of his mother and his bamboo hut is always crowded with supporters. The worth of his declared assets (both earned and received) are around 5.5 lakh. Political analysts told Sarangi’s involvement in the Central Council of Ministers was aided for his RSS background. BJP’s general secretary Ram Madhav tweeted on the freshly elected Minister of State , “Salute to the indomitable spirit of the RSS Man.”
Recently, Pratap Chandra Sarangi appointed as the MoS in the ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries.