New Delhi: First-time MP from Balasore in Odisha Pratap Chandra Sarangi in his address to the parliament on Monday asked whether those who refused to say “Vande Mataram” had a right to live in the country.
“What is the religion of tukde tukde gang?” he asked. “People who say ‘Bharat ke tukde tukde karne tak jung rahegi’, and ‘Pakistan zindabad, Afzal Guru zindabad’, do they have the right to live in this country? Who supports these people? Introspect now,” he said, in an apparent dig at the opposition.
Sarangi’s remark comes days after Samajwadi Party MP Shafiqur Rahman Barq refused to say “Vande Mataram” during his oath-taking ceremony last week, arguing that it was “against Islam”.
Sarangi, who is also the Minister of State for MSME and Animal Husbandry was fielded by the NDA to table the motion of thanks to President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the joint session of Parliament.
In a multilingual speech rousing much brouhaha from his fellow BJP MPs, Sarangi – who is popularly known as the “Modi of Odisha” – likened Narendra Modi to Swami Vivekananda. “There was one Vivekananda whose earlier name was Narendra and now, our Narendra Modi, who has come from a humble background and risen through the ranks to become PM,” Sarangi said.
Sarangi also heaped praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and claimed that the people had reposed their faith in the PM on the grounds of “pro-incumbency” before slamming the UPA government’s tenure as one of misrule, governance failure and policy paralysis and taunting the Congress over transgressions committed during the Emergency.
Sarangi, who was previously the state convener of the Bajrang Dal in Odisha, was arrested in connection with the death Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two minor sons in a Keonjhar village in 1999. He has also been arrested by Odisha police on charges of rioting, arson, assault and damaging government property.
Sarangi’s election affidavit also reveals that he faces seven pending criminal cases – for criminal intimidation, rioting, promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion, race, etc., and extortion, among others.
In a rebuttal to Sarangi’s speech, Congress’s leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury called Modi a “very big salesman” and said that the Congress had failed to “market its products” in the Lok Sabha polls.
Chowdhury also accused the BJP of simply renaming schemes promulgated by the Congress and alleged that electoral bonds were used to help parties like BJP get funds from corporate houses. Chowdhury also lashed out at the current dispensation for failing to curb instances of lynching