Sambit Patra gaffe on Lord Jagannath triggers a row; Naveen Patnaik condemns it | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Sambit Patra gaffe on Lord Jagannath triggers a row; Naveen Patnaik condemns it

ByDebabrata Mohanty
May 21, 2024 04:54 AM IST

Sambit Patra later said it was a “slip of tongue” and asked chief minister Naveen Patnaik not to make an issue out of a non-existent issue

A political now erupted in Odisha after Sambit Patra, the BJP candidate from Puri Lok Sabha constituency, referred to Lord Jagannath as a bhakt, or devotee of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, prompting chief minister Naveen Patnaik to hit out at Patra and his party, underlining that referring to Lord Jagannath as a “bhakt of another human being is an insult to the Lord”.

BJP leader Sambit Patra (PTI)
BJP leader Sambit Patra (PTI)

In a post on X soon after, Patra said it was a slip of the tongue.

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Odisha CM slams BJP's Sambit Patra for calling Lord Jagannath ‘bhakt’ of PM Modi; he clarifies

The controversial remark was made when Sambit Patra was giving statements at the end of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s roadshow in the temple town of Puri on Monday.

PM Modi arrived in Puri from Bhubaneswar around 7:30am on Monday and went to the Jagannath Temple where he prayed before Lord Jagannath and his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra. After offering prayers at the temple, PM Modi started the roadshow with Sambit Patra, the party candidate from the Puri seat.

After the roadshow, Patra told reporters that Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of Puri, “is Modi’s bhakt”.

“Lakhs of people have gathered here to see PM Modi. Jagannath is Modi’s bhakt and we are all PM Modi’s family. I cannot control my emotions and I think today is a momentous day for all Odias,” said Patra.

Patra’s gaffe led to condemnation from Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik and the Congress which slammed him for hurting the sentiment of Lord Jagannath devotees across the globe.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Patnaik said: “Mahaprabhu Shree Jagannatha is the Lord of Universe. Calling Mahaprabhu a bhakt of another human being is an insult to the Lord. This has hurt the sentiments and demeaned the faith of crores of Jagannatha bhaktas and Odias across the world. The Lord is the greatest Symbol of Odia Asmita. Calling Mahaprabhu a bhakt of another human being is totally condemnable. I strongly denounce the statement made by the BJP Puri Lok Sabha candidate and I appeal to the BJP to keep the Lord above any political discourse. By this you have deeply hurt Odia Asmita and this will be remembered and condemned by people of Odisha for a very long time.”

AICC in-charge for Odisha, Dr Ajay Kumar said the country and Odisha will not tolerate this insult of Lord Jagannath. “Will the media ask any question to Sambit Patra? Where are those journalists with the 7 pm agenda? Where have those Hindutva organisations gone,” he asked in a post on X.

Other INDIA bloc leaders including Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also condemned Patra for his comments.

Patra later issued a clarification, saying it was a “slip of tongue”.

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“I gave number of bytes today to multiple media channels after the massive success of Shri Narendra Modiji’s Road Show in Puri today, everywhere I mentioned that Modi ji is an ardent “Bhakt” of Shri Jagannath Mahaprabhu ..by mistake during one of the bytes I pronounced just the opposite ..I know you too know and understand this ..Sir let’s not make an issue out of a non-existent issue ..we all have “slip of the tongue sometimes,” said Patra in a post on X, responding to Patnaik’s attack.

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