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3-min read

Even As MLA, Pratap Sarangi Was Busy Serving Needy, Had No Time to Take Care of His Own Hut

Hundreds of people have been making a beeline to the modest house bearing a BJP flag after learning that its owner, Pratap Chandra Sarangi, has become a minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Anand ST Das | News18

Updated:May 31, 2019, 6:35 PM IST
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Even As MLA, Pratap Sarangi Was Busy Serving Needy, Had No Time to Take Care of His Own Hut
The house at Gopinathpur village in Balasore district where Union Minister Pratap Chandra Sarangi resides. (News18)
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Nilagiri (Odisha): A mud-walled, thatched house at Gopinathpur village near Nilagiri town in Odisha’s coastal Balasore district has suddenly turned into a site of political pilgrimage.

Hundreds of people have been making a beeline to the modest house bearing a BJP flag after learning that its owner, Pratap Chandra Sarangi, has become a minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Sarangi, 64, was one of the 58 MPs who were sworn in as ministers along with the PM at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Thursday evening.

He was appointed minister of state for micro, small and medium enterprises and minister of state for animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries on Friday.

The unmarried Sarangi’s younger sister, Bilasini Panda, and her husband, Manoranjan Panda, have been busy receiving the first-time minister’s supporters coming to visit from far and wide.

PS (4)

Balasore MP Pratap Chandra Sarangi’s sister Bilasini and her husband Manoranjan Panda.

“They mostly come to see the simple and ordinary house. Many of them cannot believe that a Union minister can be living in such a house,” said Manoranjan, a farmer who lives with his wife in this house along with Sarangi.

Bilasini, the youngest among four siblings, is very happy that her beloved “Nana” (elder brother), who won the Balasore Lok Sabha seat, has now become a central minister.

“Since childhood I knew Nana would become a great man, but I did not imagine that he could become a minister in Delhi. He never wasted his time doing ordinary things. He used to spend most of it reading books and taking care of our mother, who passed away last year. He is full of spirituality and worships God every day,” she said.

“I do not know what he will do for the family members and his house. He remained an MLA for two terms, but he did nothing to rebuild this house and nothing special for us. His attention has always been centred on serving needy people,” said Bilasini.

Sarangi, who is popular in coastal Odisha for his sharp oratory and social work, has come to acquire the tag “Odisha’s Modi” because of his love for simplicity.

He loves to visit villages in his constituency in his bicycle and takes his daily bath by drawing water from a hand pump outside his house.

A longtime RSS member, Sarangi has been an ardent admirer of Modi. BJP insiders in Odisha say he and the PM share a close rapport.

A day after the PM was seen meditating in a cave at Kedarnath, Sarangi was also seen meditating in a cave somewhere in Odisha.

“Nana knows the pain of poverty and is the happiest when he sees people overcome it,” said Bilasini.

“We had lost our father at a very young age. We hardly have any memory him. Our mother raised us on her own with huge difficulties. Nana took care of her till she died at a ripe old age,” she added.

In Balasore constituency, Sarangi was pitted against two millionaires — sitting BJD MP Rabindra Kumar Jena and Congress’ Nabajyoti Patnaik.

He beat Jena by 12,956 votes. In the 2014 election, Sarangi was defeated by Jena by a margin of 1.42 lakh votes.

“Victory and defeat, high or low post have never affected my ‘mamun’ (maternal uncle). I know he would retain his simple lifestyle even after becoming a central minister,” said Debashish Panda, Sarangi’s nephew, who is pursuing his post-graduation in Gujarat.

Sarangi has ideological differences with his elder brother, Kishore Kumar Sarangi, a practising lawyer in Balasore town who espouses Leftist views and has been a member of the CPI. Kishore has been living in his own house in Balasore for several years.

(With inputs from Satyajit Senapati)

| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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