The prime minister has two options: to be the reformist PM he was sold as, or to further the agenda of the party he belongs to. So far, he hasn’t done much to prove the former
Ranjona Banerji @ranjona
The Independent Voices
Pratap Chandra Sarangi was introduced to India as a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician who leads an austere life in a mud house. We like such stories. We may aspire to huge houses and cars and foreign education for our children, but we admire those who sacrifice materialism for simplicity.
But who is Sarangi? For all that he lived in a mud hut, he is part of the large Hindu supremacist family of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). In his home state of Odisha, he furthered India’s sectarian divide, pushed the idea of Hindu supremacy and with that, violence against Muslims, Christians and other minorities.
In 1999, when Sarangi was head of the Bajrang Dal, a militant wing of the RSS, Graham Staines, an Australian missionary, and his two sons were burnt alive in Odisha, allegedly by the Bajrang Dal, although an inquiry found no evidence of no evidence of one group’s responsibility for the attack, and instead individuals thought to be “active sympathisers” of the Bajrang Dal and the BJP were charged. Is it mud houses that make you win elections and get ministerial posts? Or is it a murky past?