Sambit Patra's ‘slip of tongue’ on Lord Jagannath, PM Modi sparks huge row. How Opposition reacted | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Sambit Patra's ‘slip of tongue’ on Lord Jagannath, PM Modi sparks huge row. How Opposition reacted

By | Edited by Aniruddha Dhar
May 21, 2024 07:56 AM IST

BJP's Puri candidate Sambit Patra's remark that “Lord Jagannath is a devotee of Prime Minister Narendra Modi” sparked a political stir.

Bharatiya Janata Party's Puri candidate Sambit Patra's remark that Odisha's most revered deity “Lord Jagannath is a devotee (bhakt) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi” triggered a huge political row, with top leaders such as Naveen Patnaik, Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal hitting out the BJP. Later, Sambit Patra, however, described it as a “slip of the tongue”.

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik (L), BJP's Sambit Patra (C) and Congress leader Rahu Gandhi.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik (L), BJP's Sambit Patra (C) and Congress leader Rahu Gandhi.

The Congress shared a video of Sambit Patra speaking in Odia and slammed his remark on a local TV news channel, demanding that Prime Minister Modi apologise for the comment.

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While Sambit Patra apologised for the comment and claimed that "we all have a slip of the tongue sometimes”, the Opposition leaders latched on to the remark, denouncing it as an “insult” to Lord Jagannath.

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Sambit Patra's Lord Jagannath remark row: How leaders reacted

Naveen Patnaik: The Odisha chief minister, in an X post, criticised Sambit Patra for hurting Odia 'asmita' (pride).

"Mahaprabhu Shree Jagannatha is the Lord of the Universe. Calling Mahaprabhu a 'bhakt' of another human being is an insult to the Lord... it is totally condemnable. 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. I strongly denounce the statement... 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," Naveen Patnaik said.

Mallikarjun Kharge: The Congress chief said it reinforces “our charge that a BJP, drunk with power, will not even spare our Gods, let alone India’s people”.

“The comments made by BJP’s Puri candidate is an insult to Mahaprabhu Shree Jagannatha revered by crores of people. We condemn it in the strongest possible words… On June 4th, this arrogance shall be destroyed by ‘Will of the People’,” Mallikarjun Kharge wrote on X.

Rahul Gandhi: The senior Congress leader hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the comment.

“When the Prime Minister starts considering himself as an emperor and the courtiers start considering him as God, then it is clear that the downfall of the Lanka of sin is near. Who gave a handful of BJP people the right to hurt the sentiments of crores of people? This ego is becoming the cause of their destruction,” Rahul Gandhi posted in Hindi on X.

Arvind Kejriwal: The Delhi chief minister alleged that Sambit Patra's remark reflects the “arrogance” of BJP leaders.

"I strongly condemn this statement of the BJP. They have started thinking that they are above God. This is a height of arrogance. Calling God bhakt of Modi ji is an insult to God," Arvind Kejriwal posted on X.

Ajoy Kumar: The AICC in-charge of Odisha also condemned the statement.

"The country and Odisha will not tolerate this insult of Lord Jagannath!" Ajoy Kumar posted on the micro-blogging site.

"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 added.

Sambit Patra clarifies

Sambit Patra later clarified that he wanted to mean that the PM was an ardent 'bhakt' (devotee) of Lord Jagannath and not the other way round.

Responding to Naveen Patnaik's post, Sambit Patra said, “I gave a 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 said just the opposite... I know you too know and understand this... Sir let's not make an issue out of a nonexistent issue... we all have slip of tongue sometimes.”

PM Modi addresses rallies in Odisha

Addressing two election rallies in Angul and Cuttack on Monday, PM Narendra Modi raised the missing Ratna Bhandar key issue and sought to know why the BJD government in the state "suppressed the judicial commission report" on the matter.

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