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Odisha cadre IAS officer Aparajita Sarangi to join BJP on 27 November

BJP leaders believe Aparajita Sarangi will try and counter the ‘women vote bank’ of the BJD

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

Bureaucratic circles in Odisha are agog with the talk of how the Prime Minister’s Office was allegedly keen on expediting the acceptance of the resignation Odisha cadre IAS officer Aparajita Sarangi, even as the political circles and social media went on a spin speculating her joining the BJP.

According to sources in the administrative circles here, there was a telephone from the top in Delhi to the Odisha chief secretary questioning why the issuance of no objection to Sarangi’s resignation was being delayed. The terse message was if it was delayed any further, it would be deemed that the state had no objection to her resignation, said the sources.

The file, which had been pending clearance for months, was then sent immediately, and the Centre wasted no time in completing the necessary formality of accepting the resignation of Aparajita Sarangi.

It usually takes months for the central notification to come in such cases. The fastest could be one month, said an officer in Delhi while noting that it was done in one or two days in this case.

The Odisha cadre IAS officer, Aparajita Sarangi, will now join the BJP on 27 November at the party headquarters in New Delhi.

The BJP believes she will try and counter the ‘women vote bank’ of the BJD, according to some leaders here.

Some of them said she already had a social media team that had been working overtime for the last 10 days.

There are posts that have already declared her the chief ministerial face of BJP. Sarangi has a huge following in the urban slums of Bhubaneswar and among women teachers across the state for the work she had done during her stint as the Bhubaneswar municipal commissioner and education secretary.

The interesting bit of political talk is that if Aparajita Sarangi has been handpicked by Narendra Modi, what happens to Amit Shah favourite Dharmendra Pradhan who has been working hard over the last four years positioning himself as the “face of the BJP” in Odisha.

Given the “system” in the BJP, nothing moves without the knowledge and approval of Shah and hence Sarangi’s positioning visavis her position in the party here cannot be above Pradhan.

The Kiran Bedi experiment in Delhi elections had failed, and the BJP knows imposition of a newcomer on the established cadre does not work.

What then about the high flying former MP, Baijayant Panda, who has been allegedly kept waiting for several months now. Whether he would be inducted along with Sarangi to the BJP is also a subject of curiosity.

The delay in Panda’s supposed entry into the BJP is attributed to Dharmendra Pradhan since it was well known in the political circles that Panda was keen on joining the BJP but was negotiating on the position that he would get in the party set-up.

Sources in the BJP said the feedback they had received from surveys and others had been that Panda’s induction would not translate into votes and his influence among voters was extremely limited to certain pockets of Kendrapara.

“His only asset is a regional television channel which is run by his family,” said a BJP leader while discussing his prospects.