New MSME Minister is a Sangh Parivar old-timer

first_imgOn Thursday evening, the man who got the loudest cheers at the Cabinet swearing-in ceremony apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani was a 64-year-old bachelor. Pratap Sarangi, the first-time Member of Parliament from Odisha, however, betrayed no emotion at the adulation for him.Named the new Union Minister of State for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Mr. Sarangi was already a social media sensation ahead of the oath-taking ceremony because of photographs highlighting his spartan lifestyle — including of him standing in his modest thatched house, riding a bicycle and bathing at the village tube well. There have even been comparisons with the Prime Minister, something Mr. Sarangi was quick to dismiss. “I am a common man while Modi is an unusual talent,” he told PTI in an interview after being appointed Minister. He said the swearing-in ceremony was an “incredible experience” and that it is his duty to justify the trust Mr. Modi has reposed in him.The Balasore MP is a Sangh Parivar old-timer who has long opposed proselytising work allegedly carried out by Christian missionaries in Odisha. He was the State coordinator of Odisha’s Bajrang Dal unit when Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two minor children were charred to death in Mayurbhanj district in 1999. The Bajrang Dal was then accused of masterminding the killing of three.Mr. Sarangi had deposed several times before a commission led by Justice D.P. Wadhwa that was constituted to investigate the murders. He claimed that his outfit was not involved in the incident and that Dara Singh, the prime accused in the murder, was not a member of the Bajrang Dal. (With PTI inputs)last_img

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