Sambit Patra says 'Lord Jagannath is PM Modi devotee’, later claims 'slip of tongue, will observe fast as penance’ : The Tribune India

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Sambit Patra says 'Lord Jagannath is PM Modi devotee’, later claims 'slip of tongue, will observe fast as penance’

CM Patnaik has appealed to BJP to keep Lord Jagannath above political discourse

Sambit Patra says 'Lord Jagannath is PM Modi devotee’, later claims 'slip of tongue, will observe fast as penance’

Prime Minister Modi held a roadshow in Puri on Monday morning along with BJP candidate Sambit Patra. ANI



Bhubaneswar, May 21

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sambit Patra, who was in the soup for his 'controversial' remarks relating to Lord Jagannath, cleared the air around his statement, saying that he was apologetic for his 'slip of the tongue', and that he would offer penance in the name of Lord Jagannath as an apology.

Patra, the BJP candidate from Puri Lok Sabha seat, landed in a row in Odisha on Monday after he told a local news channel that "Lord Jagannath is a devotee (bhakt) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi."

He later described it as a "slip of the tongue."

Speaking to ANI about the remark Monday night, Patra said, "Today one of my statements has become controversial. It was when Prime Minister Narendra Modi's roadshow came to an end in Puri and I was giving out bytes to several media channels."

"I had given out bytes to almost 15-16 channels wherein I was repeating that Prime Minister Modi is an ardent devotee of Maha Prabhu Jagannath Ji. Even as the Chief Minister of Ahmedabad and even before that, PM Modi used to regularly visit and offer prayers at Lord Jagannath temple there in Ahmedabad," Patra said.

Patra said, "I was repeating the same to every channel when a media person came to me for a byte. It so happened that amid a lot of people, hot weather, and noise, I unknowingly said just the opposite of what I had been saying all along. I mistakenly said that Lord Jagannath is a devotee of PM Modi."

"This is not possible; no person in his right mind can say that God is a devotee of any human being. The mistake happened unknowingly while giving out bytes to a channel. I agree that the sentiments of some people have been hurt due to my statement, but even the lord forgives a person for committing a mistake unknowingly," said Patra.

He said, "It was never my intention to commit this mistake, but still because Mahaprabhu Jagannath is the Lord of the Universe and I am an ardent devotee just like the hundreds and thousands of Odias, I feel I should convey my apology and offer penance to the Lord for a 'slip of the tongue' that occurred unknowingly." "Hence, I have decided to observe fasting as an apology," said Patra.

BJP candidate Sambit Patra inadvertently kicked off a row on Monday after he mistakenly said that "Lord Jagannath is a devotee (bhakt) of PM Modi."

"Lakhs of people have gathered to see Modi. Lord Jagannath is a devotee (bhakt) of Modi, and we are Modi's family. This is an unusual sight, and I am not able to control my emotions. I think it is a historic day for all Odias," Patra said.

He made the remark while speaking to reporters during the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha election and the second phase of the Odisha Assembly election.

Patra's accidental remark drew sharp criticism from Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who called it an 'insult' to the Lord.

"Mahaprabhu Shree Jagannatha is the Lord of the 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 wrote in a post on the microblogging site X.

The Lord is the greatest symbol of Odia Asmita, Patnaik added.

"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 the people of Odisha for a very long time," the chief minister wrote.

In his clarification addressed to Naveen Patnaik, Patra said, "Sir let's not make an issue out of a nonexistent issue ..we all have "slip of the tongue sometimes".. Thanks and Pranam!" Congress also attacked Patra for his remark relating to Lord Jagannath and sought an apology.

Prime Minister Modi held a roadshow in Puri on Monday morning along with BJP candidate Sambit Patra.

Patra had lost the election in 2019 to Pinaki Mishra of the BJD. This time he faces Congress' Jaya Narayan Patnayak and BJD's Arup Patnaik.

#BJP


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