New Delhi: For 64-year-old Pratap Sarangi, who once nurtured the desire to be a monk and lives an austere life, his hard work and dedication to people appear to have earned him a berth in the new Narendra Modi Government. Sarangi took oath on Thursday as a Minister of State. On Friday, he took charge as Minsiter of State in the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Minister of State in the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries.
A national executive member of BJP, Sarangi was elected to Odisha Assembly twice in 2004 and 2009 from Nilagiri constituency in Balasore district. He had also contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Balasore constituency but faced defeat.
However, Sarangi’s association with active politics and electoral victories has not affected his lifestyle as he continues to live in a mud and bamboo house and rides a bicycle to most places, even during his earlier poll campaigns. He has dedicated his life to social work and uplift of the poor and lives like an ascetic.
The first-time parliamentarian, who is being fondly called as ‘Odisha’s Modi’, has already created a buzz in social media where photos show him in his modest house and bathing at the village well.
A bachelor, Sarangi is said to be spending the major portion of his MLA pension to support education of poor children in his area.
After graduating from Fakir Mohan College in Balasore, the firebrand leader, who is fluent in Sanskrit, wanted to become a monk of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission but the math encouraged him to engage himself in social work instead.
Thereafter, he started serving people in and around his village and got associated with RSS and VHP.
The Balasore MP is credited with opening a number of schools for the poor children in the tribal and remote areas of Mayurbhanj and Balasore districts of the state which were devoid of educational facilities.
Sarangi has also functioned as the Odisha unit president of Bajrang Dal and spearheaded a movement for the protection of cows.
In the run up to the recent elections, Sarangi adopted his own style of campaigning, which was in sharp contrast to that of his rivals who had hired professional agencies and campaign managers.
Sarangi relied on party workers and moved around in an autorickshaw. The newly elected lawmaker is firm that his new status as parliamentarian will not change his lifestyle as he believes in working for the people and serving the country.