balasoreDairying and FarmingGraham StainesMinistry of Animal Husbandry First Published: June 1, 2019, 2:01 PM IST For Pratap Sarangi, simplicity has been a way of life. The firebrand BJP leader from Odisha, who has become a social media star of sorts after being sworn into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet as MoS in ministry of micro small and medium enterprises and the MoS in ministry of animal husbandry, dairying and farming, speaks to CNN-News18 about his plan of action, the controversy over his comments on the Graham Staines incident and the need to protect cows. Edited excerpts:You achieved a big victory in Balasore against powerful opponents. What do you think worked in your favour this time? After Independence, the people of Hindustan were of ‘parabhut manasikta’ (defeatist mentality). Each time Pakistan, China, Myanmar or Sri Lanka delivered threats to us, the prime minister would maintain silence. During the time of the Manmohan Singh government, there were several incidents of border violation, people were beheaded but the government could not do anything.However, Narendra Modi-ji showed such ‘parakram’ as he launched surgical strikes thrice — this awakened the youth. They walked with their heads held high both within the country and abroad, proud of the fact that Hindustan can protect its own respect. ‘Bharat ka gaurav’ (India’s pride) soared high.With the yog diwas, over 190 countries in the world, of which 50 are Islamic, accepted the practice of Yoga, while also acknowledging the spiritual leadership of India. Modi-ji worked hard to actualise his vision of vikas (development) with steely resolve and his motto ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’, he won sabka vishwas (everyone’s trust). The youth of the country started thinking that they should make Narendra Modi the prime minister again.Was Narendra Modi’s leadership the biggest reason?Yes, it was the biggest reason.For your Lok Sabha poll victory ?This was the biggest reason for everyone’s victory. Behind the electoral success of all the BJP candidates was one reason — to make Narendra Modi the prime minister again.You are a Member of Parliament from Odisha. What issues will you raise from the region?Now, the whole country is my area.But you are from Odisha, Balasore?That is my janma maati (birth place). I will raise the issues of farmers, health and employment in the region.Odisha has always demanded a special category status.Before Cyclone Fani, Narendra Modi had approved a lot of money, more than a thousand crores.Will you support the demand for special status or not?I will have to know what it is first. The special category status has not been given to anyone and I will take a decision after looking into it. Narendra Modi has shown us the way — Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas — and we have to win the hearts of the people.How many languages do you know?I know Sanskrit, though I have not learnt it officially.On the murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines (who was burnt alive along with his two minor sons in Keonjhar district of Odisha), a controversy has erupted regarding you and your social media statements.Those talking about me have no work. They are trying to straighten the dog’s tale. Bajrang Dal has no link with Graham Staines’ murder. The court has also said this.What was your first reaction on being given the responsibility of the Ministry of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries and the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises?I am very fortunate. Yes, I am very happy. I am happy with whichever department I have been given. Nothing lies with the department but it is the spirit with which you work that matters. I will work in this department with complete devotion and will see to it that the government’s intention is fulfilled and it becomes a good instrument in the service of the nation.What will be your focus in the area of animal husbandry and fisheries?I will have to go through the entire details of the department. Only then can I comment. Roughly, I can say that this is a very important department and of utmost significance to rural and urban people. They can improve their economic standards with the help of fisheries and animal husbandry department. These have been the source of income since thousands of years, not only in India but throughout the world.You often say that people should give respect to gau mata (cow). Will there be any special focus on cows when you take over the ministry?The most favourable relationship we have is with our mother. On being born, the first thing a child says is ‘ma’ (mother). The sound of gau mata (cow) also resembles the word ‘ma’. Further, a cow provides us milk and various dairy products, which are essential to us, but we give it waste in return.Will there be any special schemes, like those meant to protect indigenous cattle?I will look into it. Today, we do not have a law for cattle protection in the country. Every state has its own laws. The BJP had long back proposed to introduce a bill but it could not be passed due to opposition from some states. I will press for a legislation banning cow slaughter so that it becomes applicable to the entire country.How do you propose to energise the ministry of micro, small and medium enterprises?Our people should be encouraged to be employers rather than employees, for which special assistance will be provided to them by the ministry. Both technical and financial help will be extended to fuel their inner energy and they will be motivated to start new industries, for which the government will come to their help. I have strong faith that through this department, we can provide employment opportunity and self-employment to the youth.