Pradeep Pattanayak

The main Opposition parties in Odisha, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress, on Friday hit out at BJD Supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over the latter’s clarifications about health. 

On Friday, Patnaik visited the Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar to offer prayers and took stock of the developmental projects underway around the shrine under 'Ekamra Plan’.

On this occasion, while briefing journalists about the reason for his visit, Patnaik sought to quell rumours about his failing health by saying that the speculations about his health do rounds whenever an election is round the corner in the State. “But I can assure all of you that I am in perfect health, very happy and here to serve the people of Odisha,” he said in his reply to a question about his health, posed by reporters. 

He also pointed out, “Whenever there is such rumour, you can be assured that the BJD is going to do well.”

He however, dodged a pointed question if the rumours were the handiwork of the Opposition.

Nevertheless, a word to the wise is sufficient. 

Following the CM’s statement, the BJP and Congress were quick to come out with reactions. 

“The CM said the BJD performs well whenever there are such rumours. This indicates that the party itself creates such rumours to ensure better performance,” alleged BJP leader Jatin Mohanty. 

Referring the CM’s unscheduled visit and statement as a political stunt, Mohanty said, “To garner sympathy, the BJD party workers and CM resort to such stunts. One can remember how he (Patnaik) had visited the State Secretariat on January 26 even though he did not go to the Secretariat and the Assembly to take part in any activity in the last two years,”

“It is none’s business to create rumours about his (the CM) health. It is their own strategy to create rumours and make most out of it,” he added.  

Echoing the similar views, Congress leader Debasish Patnaik said, “The rumour is created by the BJD itself. The visit to the Lingaraj temple is the CM’s charm offensive like that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who recently visited the Somnath Temple.  They are creating the rumours and countering them because they are afraid of their debacle.” 

“If it is rumour in the true sense, it is a serious offence since it involves the health of the CM. Why no police case has been registered in this regard,” he asked.