‘Odisha’s Modi’ is making a splash on social media with austere living
Several Facebook and Twitter users started sharing details about how Sarangi had dedicated his whole life to social work and upliftment of common people
A first-time parliamentarian from Odisha is making a splash on social media after his photograph emerged as he was packing his bags to come to Delhi. In this widely-shared photo, the 64-year-old is seen squatting in his bamboo and straw hut and packing his bag.
Several Facebook and Twitter users started sharing details about how Sarangi had dedicated his whole life to social work and upliftment of common people. Identifying himself as Gyanaranjan Rout, a Facebook user said he was a supporter of Biju Janata Dal, but he liked Sarangi for his austere lifestyle. “You are a bright prospect in the polluted world of politics,” wrote another Facebook user Rajiv Nanda. Some also called him ‘Odisha’s Modi’.
Pratap Sarangi is a first-time BJP MP from Odisha, who won from Balasore Lok Sabha constituency defeating his nearest BJD rival Rabindra Jena, industrialist-turned-politician and a former MP by over 12,000 votes.
Sarangi lives in Nilagiri block of Balasore district and has been known in the state for his austere living. After graduating from Fakir Mohan College in Balasore, he wanted to become a monk in Ramkrishna Math, but the math encouraged him to do social work in his region.
Sarangi returned to his village and started serving people. He first joined as a clerk in Nilagiri college but quit soon after he got associated with RSS and VHP.
He won his first election in 2004 on a BJP ticket from Nilagiri. In 2009, he again won from Nilagiri as independent candidate. In 2014, however he was defeated by Rabindra Jena of BJD from Balasore Lok Sabha constituency.
A bachelor, Sarangi lived with his mother till her death last year and is reported to spend a chunk of his MLA pension to fund education of some children in his constituency. Pratap Sarangi, who speaks fluent Sanskrit, is also credited with opening schools in tribal areas of Mayurbhanj and Balasore.
On social media, there are already several photographs of the lawmaker using a cycle to commute in his village.
In 2019 polls, he upgraded to an autorickshaw to campaign around. Not surprisingly, he was among the least resourceful of Lok Sabha candidates with a declared asset of ₹13 lakh. The richest was the BJD lawmaker Pinaki Mishra topped the list with ₹117 crore assets. BJP MPs Sangeeta Singhdeo and Nitesh Gangdeo came second and third in the asset list.