Bhubaneswar: Senior bureaucrat Aparajita Sarangi will soon take voluntary retirement from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) as she is likely to join politics, sources said on Tuesday.
Aparajita, a 1994 batch Odisha cadre IAS officer, confirmed to Odisha Bytes that she will be taking voluntary retirement, but did not disclose her future plans. To a query, she neither confirmed nor denied her intent to join politics.
However, sources said that on September 15 Aparajita has applied for voluntary retirement from service. She was serving as joint secretary (MGNREGA), Ministry of Rural Development, but her five-year tenure on central deputation ended in August.
Speculation is rife that Aparajita has applied for voluntary retirement from the premier service as she is likely to contest the ensuing elections. The former commissioner of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) might contest the Lok Sabha elections, sources revealed.
Aparajita was perceived to have been quite popular during her stint in BMC from 2006 to 2009.
Aparajita, though a native of Bihar, is married to her batchmate Sontosh Sarangi and went on central deputation in 2013. During the preceding four years, she had worked as director, panchayati raj; secretary, school and mass education; secretary, higher education; commissioner, consolidation; and secretary, textiles and handloom. The frequency of her transfers had raised several eyebrows, indicating that she was not in the good books of the ruling BJD. This, sources believe, could have prompted the 49-year-old Aparajita to consider taking the political plunge.
BJD’s Prasanna Patasani has been representing the Bhubaneswar parliamentary seat continuously since 1998, tasting triumph at the hustings consecutively on five occasions (1998, 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014).
Aparajita’s possible entry into the electoral fray would add to the growing number of former and serving bureaucrats joining politics in Odisha during the last couple of decades.