Ramakanta Biswas

The statement of senior BJD leader and Minister Pratap Keshari Deb comparing Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik with Lord Jagannath continues to evoke sharp reactions with BJP leader Sambit Patra on Saturday taking a dig at him on the issue. 

In a party event, Deb said that Odisha is now known because of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and not Jagannath.

Reacting to the statement, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra tweeted, “It’s “Arrogance” to the hilt when a minister in Odisha, Pratap Keshari Deb says that while earlier people recognised Odisha in the name of Lord Jagannath..now it’s the CM who’s become more famous than the Lord ..& Odisha now is known because of Naveen Patnaik & not Jagannath ji.”

Stating that the minister’s statement is demeaning the faith of Odias, Patra wanted to know whether the CM too concurs with the statement.

“This is demeaning the faith of 4.5 crore Odias and all the Hindus across the Globe. We all would like to know whether the CM too concurs with the statement of Shri Deb ..if not will the CM reprimand the said Minister?,” Patra questioned.



Yesterday, the Minister while addressing a gathering during BJD’s two-day workshop in Bhubaneswar said, “There was a time when people knew Odisha because of Lord Jagannath. But, now, if you say that you come from Odisha, people will immediately react it as the land of CM Naveen."

“The Lord Jagannath was the only identity of 4.5 crore people of Odisha. But, now if you take the name of Odisha in any part of India, people will soon identity it with CM Naveen Patnaik not Lord Jagannath anymore,” the minister added.

The statement evoked sharp criticism with the Opposition launching a scathing attack on the State Minister of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises portfolio.

“The party that came to power using Lord Jagannath’s name and calling CM, the ‘bhakt’, is now filled with so much arrogance to make such statements, a leader in the Opposition said.

Slamming the BJD minister, BJP leader Prithviraj Harichandan said, “The BJD has crossed all limits of pride and arrogance. They have started seeing their party leaders as the alternative to Lord Shri Jagannath. I have not seen a party come down so low to insult all the people of Odisha.”