Pradeep Pattanayak

Releasing a video clip showing him praying Lord Jagannath on the occasion of New Year Day, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has once again become the cynosure of all eyes. However, the Opposition parties claim the ruling BJD has played the same old trick ahead of the Panchayat and the Civic body elections. 

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who usually visits Jagannath Temple on New Year Day, has been skipping his visit to Puri since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. This year was no different. He prayed to Lord Jagannath from his house. 

A video clip of him worshipping the Lord has also been released. 

However, the video clip has set the political temperature soaring with the Opposition parties alleging that the ruling party has played the same card it had played during the 2019 general elections in order to woo voters as the Panchayat and the Civic body elections are round the corner. 

“He has never come out of his residence to garland statues of leaders. It is only a political stunt to go nearer to the people. These days, the CM is shorn of that spirituality as he should have,” alleged BJP Spokesperson, Biranchi Narayan Tripathy. 

Taking a dig at the CM, senior Congress leader and Jatni MLA Suresh Routray said the objective of releasing such videos is to send out a message to people that he is fit and fine. 

“This acting is orchestrated with an intention to garner votes. But, people will give a befitting reply in the coming Panchayat and Civic body polls and 2024 general elections,” he said. 

Slamming the Opposition parties, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) said they are resorting to such activities out of frustration. “Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has already been in the hearts of 4.5 crore people of the State. Let the leaders of the opposition parties say whatever they want,” commented School and Mass Education Minister, Samir Dash. 

Releasing videos from Naveen Niwas is not a new thing. Earlier such videos were also released. Prior to the 2019 general elections, when the Oppositions had alleged that he had health issues, a video of Naveen Patnaik working out in gym was released. Similarly, when it was alleged that he was distancing himself from common people, a video of him discussing with youths regarding centre’s negligence had come to the fore. 

Meanwhile, political analysts said the BJD swears heavily by Naveen Patnaik’s clean image. 

“Biju Janata Dal is no longer a ‘dal’ or party. It is a one man’s show. The fact behind the recent video is to show that he is healthy and has the devotion towards Lord Jagannath,” said political analyst, Rabi Das.