Pradeep Pattanayak

BJP’s Puri Lok Sabha candidate, Sambit Patra was censured on social media by many starting from Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for his statement on Lord Jagannath. 

Patra was in the crosshairs of leaders despite him tendering an apology for what he said, terming it as a slip of the tongue. He also said that he would keep fasting for three days as penance. 

Notably, Patra was severely criticised for saying Lord Jagannath is a bhakt of PM Modi.

“It is a big mistake. But it was a slip of the tongue. I had nothing like that in my heart. I had told this to a private channel. So forgive your child. I will hold three days of fasting to repent,” said Patra. 

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But there are several BJD leaders who gave defamatory statements about Lord Jagannath and showed disrespect to Odisha’s legendary personalities in their speeches but never tendered apology. 

In 2022, Minister Pratap Deb had said that Naveen Patnaik, not Lord Jagannath, was the identity of 4.5 crore Odias.  

Similarly, Amar Patnaik had once said, “Mahaprabhu Jagannath is currently Naveen Patnaik.”

In the latest episode, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s close aide VK Pandian had called Swabhaba Kabi Gangadhar Meher as Santha Kabi at an election meeting in Sambalpur.  

He neither corrected himself nor tendered any apology. 

“In the past, those who had said that people outside knew Odisha and Puri because of Naveen Patnaik were also reprimanded on social media. Did they apologize?” said senior journalist Rajaram Satpathy.

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