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Sambit Patra triggers row calling Lord Jagannath 'Modi bhakt', later clarifies as 'slip of tongue'
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Photo courtesy: Facebook/Sambit Patra

Sambit Patra triggers row calling Lord Jagannath 'Modi bhakt', later clarifies as 'slip of tongue'

| @indiablooms | 21 May 2024, 01:24 am

New Delhi/IBNS: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sambit Patra landed in a controversy Monday over a comment that hugely offended Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

As Odisha voted for the Lok Sabha and a new assembly in the Fifth Phase of the election, Patra told reporters that Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of Puri, "is Modi's bhakt".

After the Chief Minister took offence to the comment and launched an angry protest on social media, Patra issued a clarification, saying it was a "slip of tongue".

"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, who is the candidate from Puri.

His remarks drew immediate condemnation from Naveen Patnaik, who is hoping for a sixth consecutive term in the state.

"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," Patnaik posted on social media.

"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," his post read.

Congress's Supriya Shrinate joined the protest, posting, "Lord Jagannath is a devotee of Modi... What has happened to the BJP people? Such an insult to our beloved God? this arrogance will come to an end".

Patra issued a clarification saying: "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 nonexistent issue ..we all have "slip of tongue sometimes."

However, even after his clarification post, the wave of outrage continued.

A post by Kerala Congress read, "Sambit Patra says that Prabhu Jagannath is a Bhakth of Modi. @sambitswaraj, God sends no one away empty, except those who are full of themselves".

Several netizens demanded a public apology from the BJP leader. 

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