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Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik unwell at Independence Day event, fumbles speech

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik unfurled the national tricolour at the parade at Mahatma Gandhi Marg, and was visibly unwell while delivering his address and was seen slowing down towards the end.

india Updated: Aug 15, 2017 22:22 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Naveen Patnaik,Independence Day,August 15
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik appeared unwell while delivering an address on the 71st Independence Day celebrations in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday.(Arabinda Mahapatra /HT Photo)

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik appeared to fall ill during his Independence Day address in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday as he fumbled several times during the speech and left the podium midway.

Soon after he unfurled the Tricolour at the state-level parade ceremony on the busy Mahatma Gandhi Marg, the 71-year-old chief minister appeared unwell as he sneezed several times. He then stumbled on several words during his address, sweating profusely. He cut short his speech and left the podium midway after around 15 minutes of the address.

But despite the illness, Patnaik received salute at the state-level parade in which 54 troupes, including school and college students participated.

“He felt slightly uncomfortable due to the high-humidity level. Doctors examined him and found no serious health issues. He is now completely fit and fine and will attend all programmes as per schedule,” chief minister’s public relations officer Sukanta Panda said.

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik appeared unwell while delivering an address on the 71st Independence Day celebrations in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday. (Arabinda Mahapatra /HT Photo)

Patnaik in his speech spoke about 200 years of Paika Rebellion while paying homage to Buxi Jagabandhu and other paikas on this occasion. His government is aiming to use the anti-British Paika revolt to stave off a rising BJP, which is buoyant after performing well in rural body elections.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee took to Twitter to wish him a speedy recovery. Patnaik thanked her for her wishes, saying “I am perfectly alright now after feeling a bit dehydrated in the day.”

Patnaik further posted that he would be attending the rest of the day’s programmes.

“Must tell all you kids out there to drink adequate water before going out in sun. Thanks for your wishes,” he said.

He said he should have had more water during the sunny and humid weather. “Felt bit dehydrated. Perfectly fine now with 2 glasses of nimbu pani,” he posted.

The CM also spoke of how his government has reduced poverty by 25% through various programmes. “I believe that poverty can be completely eliminated from Odisha by 2036, on the occasion of completion of 100 years of formation of separate state,” he said.

Patnaik’s health concerns come at a time when BJP is making a serious bid to come to power in the next assembly election after the Biju Janata Dal’s nearly two decades of uninterrupted rule. There have been rumors about several party MPs switching sides to the BJP ahead of the next assembly elections scheduled for 2019.

First Published: Aug 15, 2017 13:00 IST