‘Too much heat…should eat properly’: Odisha CM's aide jabs at Sambit Patra's ‘3-day fast’ penance | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Too much heat…should eat properly’: Odisha CM's aide jabs at Sambit Patra's ‘3-day fast’ penance

May 21, 2024 04:58 PM IST

BJP leader Sambit Patra's remark on Lord Jagannath sparked controversy and huge backlash, forcing him to apologise and clarify that it was a slip of the tongue.

Bureaucrat-turned-politician and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader VK Pandian on Tuesday took a dig at BJP leader Sambit Patra over his decision to undertake penance by observing fast for three days, saying the Puri Lok Sabha candidate should take care and eat properly because of prevailing heat and dust.

BJP Lok Sabha candidate Sambit Patra got embroiled in controversy over what he called a 'slip of tongue'. (X)
BJP Lok Sabha candidate Sambit Patra got embroiled in controversy over what he called a 'slip of tongue'. (X)

Sambit Patra courted controversy by calling Lord Jagganath, a revered deity in Odisha, an ardent ‘bhakt’ (devotee) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After a huge uproar over what he termed a “slip of tongue”, Patra on Tuesday apologised and announced he would undertake penance by observing fast for three days.

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Taking to X, Patra said: "…For this mistake, I apologise at the feet of Lord Sri Jagannath. I will fast for the next three days to atone for this mistake."

Asked about Patra's decision, VK Pandian, a trusted aide of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, in an interview with ANI, said, “I think he should take care, there is too much heat and dust. He should eat properly and take care. Three days before elections, he should not faint. He is a doctor, he should know what to do.”

Asked if the BJD would escalate this issue, Pandian said his party never believes in doing politics over religion, especially Lord Jagannath who is the symbol of Odisha's identity.

"Lord Jagannath can never be escalated and Lord Jagannath should always be above everything else. BJD never believes in politics over religion, especially Lord Jagannath who is the symbol of Odisha's identity," he said.

"Chief Minister has always felt that we should keep our God outside politics. They are immortal and we are mortal. Why we should mix both? So he felt hurt when this statement happened," the BJD leader added.

On Monday, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik condemned Sambit Patra's remark saying it 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," Patnaik posted on X.

Patra later clarified that it was a slip of tongue and he wanted to mean that the PM was an ardent devotee of Lord Jagannath and not the other way round.

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