New Delhi: She is a 1994 batch IAS officer and he a 1979 batch IPS. Meet Aparajita Sarangi and Arup Patnaik who will fight it out in Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha during the upcoming Lok Sabha polls as rival candidates.
Sarangi took voluntary retirement while serving as a joint secretary of the Government of India to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) last November. Patnaik, a former Mumbai police commissioner joined Biju Janata Dal (BJD) last year three years after his retirement.
On Wednesday evening, Patnaik was named the BJD candidate from Bhubaneswar, replacing Prasanna Kumar Patasani, a four time MP. Experts believe that by replacing Patasani, BJD might have managed the anti-incumbency in the capital city. Arup Patnaik is seen as an able administrator because of his IPS experience as a top cop of Mumbai and provides a good contest to Sarangi whose name was announced as BJP candidate earlier this month.
“Bhubaneswar is a now a fight between heavyweights. Both are known faces in the city and in the state. Both have good experience behind them as administrators. It’s an IAS vs IPS fight, and would be tough to predict who will win," said Gyana Ranjan Swain, a political analyst in Odisha.
Since she joined BJP, Sarangi was believed to the be face of the party in Bhubaneswar, the city she has served in various capacities –as a district collector, as a municipality commissioner, as education secretary and again in the Panchayat Raj department in the state.
Sarangi was a smart inclusion for BJP and perhaps gives the saffron party a good chance to win the seat as she knows the city better than politicians. She knows the problems and she knows the people and for last few months, she has been campaigning in the constituency by visiting housing clusters, off city villages, and slums to garner the required the support.
Sarangi knows what to say in an election season and does not hesitate to take a pot shot at the Naveen Patnaik government which she served for years. “…19 years of rule has been filled with false promises…Youth is compelled to seek jobs outside as opportunities were not created in Odisha," she tweeted on Wednesday.
“As I move around in different parts of Bhubaneswar, I find an overwhelming response of people in favour of BJP. The people seem to have made up their mind to replace the BJD govt in Odisha and bring a govt by people who have a long term stake in Odisha," she wrote in a tweet post.
In contrast, Arup Patnaik is the current chairman of the Odisha State Youth Welfare Board and the Biju Yuva Vahini, the youth wing of BJD and understands the pulses of the youth. Though he is relatively late in starting his polls campaign, the image of BJD and popularity of state chief minister favours his situation too.