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'Communist Brother' and Seer's Advice: How Odisha's 'Aam Aadmi' Entered Modi Cabinet Without BJP Ticket

Fondly known as ‘nana’, the 64-year-old Pratap Chandra Sarangi took oath as the Minister of State in the second Modi government. Hours later, he became one of the top trends on social media.

Sumedha Kirti | News18.com

Updated:May 31, 2019, 3:00 PM IST
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'Communist Brother' and Seer's Advice: How Odisha's 'Aam Aadmi' Entered Modi Cabinet Without BJP Ticket
Newly-inducted cabinet minister Pratap Sarangi greets President Ram Nath Kovind at the oath-taking ceremony on Thursday (PTI)
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New Delhi: As he walked on the stage with messy hair and white kurta amid applause, a wave of curiosity swept the citizens watching PM Modi’s oath-taking ceremony. It was the first time that the entire country was watching him on their television sets. But for Odisha, he is their real ‘aam aadmi’.

Fondly known as ‘nana’, the 64-year-old Pratap Chandra Sarangi took oath as the Minister of State in the second Modi government on Thursday. Hours later, he became one of the top trends on social media. Pictures of him packing his bag in a thatched house resurfaced on Twitter.

According to local reports, Sarangi wanted to join the Ramkrishna Math as a monk, but was encouraged to take up social work.

“I went to Ramakrishna Mission but after looking at my details, swamiji (Swami Atmasthananda) asked me who would take care of my old mother in my absence. My brother was never an option. He had joined the Communists,” the first-time MP from Balasore told News18.

It is then that the 28-year-old Sarangi joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevek Sangh and became a kar sevak.

“Later, I got associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party because I knew that only this party will work for the welfare of Hindus,” he added.

For the last 35 years, Sarangi led a simple life, taking care of his mother till she died last year, and helping residents of his area.

He has been deeply involved in local protests, such as anti-liquor movements and education and has opened Samrkara Kendras in tribal villages in Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts.

The leader has been a two-time MLA from the Nilagiri assembly segment. In 2004, he was elected as a BJP candidate and later as an Independent in 2009 from Nilagiri Vidhan Sabha constituency under Balasore Lok Sabha.

When asked if there was a fallout with his party then, Sarangi told News18, “I had lost the ticket in 2009,” as he hurriedly left for a “meeting” ahead of being allocated the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as MoS.

An Indian Express report had quoted BJP Vice President Sameer Mohanty that ‘nana’ had kept his ticket in some bag and used public transport for travel and then lost the ticket. “As nomination deadline was around the corner, he filed as an Independent,” he said.

“I am fortunate that PM Modi has placed his trust in me and I consider politics as a medium to serve the nation. I will try my best to win the trust of Modi ji and common people,” the Odisha MP said.

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