New Delhi: Former IAS officer Aparajita Sarangi, considered one of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s best bets in Odisha, seems to have delivered on the promise. At 3 pm Thursday afternoon, Sarangi was leading by 9,255 votes in Bhubaneswar against the Biju Janata Dal’s Arup Patnaik, the retired commissioner of Mumbai Police.
Sarangi had 11 years of service left when she decided to take the electoral plunge in 2018. Prior to resigning from the IAS, the Odisha cadre officer was posted as joint secretary in the union rural development ministry.
Sarangi made a name for herself as an efficient and hardworking bureaucrat, and was handpicked by Congress leader and then-rural development minister Jairam Ramesh to handle MNREGA in 2013.
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She is also a well-known figure in Bhubaneswar, having served as the municipal commissioner between 2006 and 2008.
“She had taken many initiatives to improve the city during her stint as municipal commissioner. She is well aware of the issues in the state and is known to be a go-getter with a clean image,” an Odisha cadre bureaucrat told ThePrint on phone from Bhubaneswar.
What she said on the campaign trail
Sarangi, who has her roots in Bihar, calls herself Odisha’s “daughter-in-law”.
“I am more of an Odia than any Odia, and am emotionally connected to the culture of the people of the state,” Sarangi had told ThePrint in Bhubaneswar during her campaign in April.
She added that she had enjoyed being part of the civil service, but decided to quit after completing 25 years as she wanted a “bigger canvass, a bigger platform, a bigger horizon”, which politics offers.
“I wanted to render public service, wanted to be closer to people. It gives me immense political satisfaction,” Sarangi had said.
Sarangi had a very hectic schedule in the run-up to the elections, campaigning up to 13 hours a day.
“I have toured 200 villages and am aware of the issues of my constituents,” Sarangi had said.