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POST TIME: 1 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 31 May, 2019 09:58:55 PM
Loudest cheers for ‘Odisha’s Modi’ Pratap Sarangi
THE INDIAN EXPRESS, NEW DELHI

Loudest cheers for ‘Odisha’s Modi’ Pratap Sarangi

His was the 56th name of 58 called to take the oath of secrecy but when a 64-year-old man, frail with unkempt hair and a beard walked on stage, the applause from the 6,000-strong crowd in Rashtrapati Bhavan Thursday was thunderous.

And Pratap Chandra Sarangi, a first-time MP from Balasore in Odisha, was sworn-in as Minister of State in the second Modi government. It was the second time Sarangi trended on social media, just days after images of him packing a simple bag in his modest thatched house before leaving for Delhi surfaced on Twitter.

But in Odisha, Sarangi is known as an austere political activist, maverick and plain spoken. In a television interview to OTV, a regional channel, Sarangi was asked if he was “abibahita” (unmarried) or “brahmacharya” (celibate). Sarangi promptly said “unmarried” and then “no” to the question on celibacy. Sarangi went on to explain that as a 28-year-old, he wanted to join the Ramakrishna Math and Mission at Belur Math to pursue spiritual salvation and even managed to meet Swami Atmasthananda who asked Sarangi if he had any dependents.