6 | All citizens in the country to get free COVID-19 vaccine, says Union Minister Pratap Sarangi: Union Minister Pratap Sarangi on October 25 said that all people of the country will be given free COVID vaccine. Sarangi, the union minister of state for animal husbandry, dairy, fisheries and micro, small and medium enterprises spoke in reply to question raised by Odisha Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister, R P Swain.
Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Minister of State (MoS) for MSMEs and Animal Husbandry, made quite an impression while delivering his maiden speech in the Lok Sabha.
On June 24, the first-time MP from Balasore in Odisha, in a rhetorical remark, asked if those who do not say Vande Mataram have a right to stay in India.
In his multi-lingual speech delivered in Hindi, Sanskrit, Odiya, Bengali and English, Sarangi made several references from the Ramayana, evoking loud desk thumps from fellow BJP members.
"Jinko humara priya pawan bhoomi se pyaar nahi, jinko Bharat ki azaadi aur akhandata sweekar nahi, jinko Bharat ki 'vande mataram' sweekar nahi, kya unko Bharat mai rehne ka adhikar hai (Those who do not love our beloved nation, those who do not accept the integrity and freedom of India, those who do not accept Vande Mataram, do they have a right to live in India?)" Sarangi asked.
Sarangi's comments are being seen as a direct attack on Samajwadi Party legislator Shafiqur Rahman Barq refusing to chant Vande Mataram after taking oath, during the swearing-in ceremony last week, saying that it was against Islam. (Muslims are against deifying the nation as Islam identifies only one God.)
Adding to his rhetoric, Sarangi said: “ ‘Pakistan zindabad‘, ‘Afzal Guru zindabad‘, ‘hum sharminda hai Afzal tera qatil zinda hai‘. Ye kehne waalo ko desh mai rehne ka adhikar hai? (Those who hail Pakistan and Afzal Guru, do they have a right to live in the country?)”
The treasury bench immediately broke into an agreement saying, “No, not at all!”
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And this is not it. Sarangi’s remarks rocked the Parliament, tickling a funny bone here and there, when he made a reference from Ramayana in praise of PM Modi.
Thanking the Congress party, he called it the “villain”, which was required to bring out the “hero”. To emphasize on the argument, he narrated a scene between Lord Ram and Kekai (Ram’s step-mother), where the former is thanking the latter for sending him to exile. Otherwise, Sarangi quoted Ram as saying, "Who would have known me?"
The Print has even quoted him saying, "Seeking proof for the Balakot air strikes is akin to asking one’s mother for a DNA test".
The Balakot air strike was conducted in response to the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir earlier this year. The Opposition not only questioned the timing of the attack, but also enquired about the counter-attack, demanding details as to how many terrorists were eliminated.
During his Lok Sabha address on June 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while praising first-time MPs, slipped in a special mention of Sarangi, commending his clarity in thinking and articulate presentation of argument. He said that Sarangi spoke so well that the message was delivered and he would never have to repeat it again.
Previously the state convener of the Bajrang Dal in Odisha, Sarangi is a staunch supporter of the Hindutva ideology. In 2002, he was arrested for rioting and arson when the Odisha Assembly was attacked by right-wing groups including Bajrang Dal.