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'Will observe fast for three days': Sambit Patra apologises for his remark on Lord Jagannath

BJP leader Sambit Patra faced criticism for calling Lord Jagannath a 'devotee' of PM Modi. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik condemned this as an insult to the revered deity and urged the BJP to keep religion separate from politics.

Edited By: Arushi Jaiswal @JaiswalArushi Bhubaneswar Updated on: May 21, 2024 7:32 IST
Lok Sabha Elections, PM Modi, Odisha, Sambit Patra
Image Source : X/@SAMBITSWARAJ BJP leader Sambit Patra

Sambit Patra slip of tongue: BJP leader Sambit Patra, who courted controversy for his remarks on Lord Jagannath, said that he was apologetic for his 'slip of the tongue', and that he would observe fast for the next three days to 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."

'Will observe a fast for next three days'

Patra shared a video on social media platform X around 1 am, apologising for his mistake regarding Lord Jagannath. He wrote, "Today, I am deeply distressed by the mistake I made regarding Lord Jagannath. I bow my head at the feet of Lord Jagannath and apologise. To atone for my error and repentance, I will observe a fast for the next three days."

"During Narendra Modi's visit to Puri, I was conversing with many media friends amidst the large crowd on the Grand Road of Puri. While speaking to a media friend in this sea of people, I mistakenly said 'Modi's devotee Jagannath' instead of 'Lord Jagannath's devotee Modi.' For this mistake, I prostrate myself at the feet of Lord Jagannath and seek forgiveness. To repent for this error, I will fast for the next three days," he added.

Speaking to news agency ANI, Patra clarified, "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. 

"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," he added.

Opposition reacts 

Patra's remark triggered a huge political row, with top leaders such as Naveen Patnaik, Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal hitting out at the BJP. 

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, in an X post, criticised Sambit Patra for hurting Odia 'asmita' (pride). "Mahaprabhu Shree Jagannatha is the Lord of the Universe. Calling Mahaprabhu a 'bhakt' of another human being is an insult to the Lord... it is totally condemnable. This has hurt the sentiments and demeaned the faith of crores of Jagannatha bhaktas and Odias across the world.

"The Lord is the greatest symbol of Odia asmita. I strongly denounce the statement... 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 people of Odisha for a very long time," Patnaik said.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the comment. In an X post, he said, “When the Prime Minister starts considering himself as an emperor and the courtiers start considering him as God, then it is clear that the downfall of the Lanka of sin is near. Who gave a handful of BJP people the right to hurt the sentiments of crores of people? This ego is becoming the cause of their destruction."

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that Sambit Patra's remark reflects the “arrogance” of BJP leaders. "I strongly condemn this statement of the BJP. They have started thinking that they are above God. This is the height of arrogance. Calling God bhakt of Modi ji is an insult to God," Kejriwal posted on X.

(With ANI inputs)

Also Read: Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik condemns BJP's Sambit Patra for calling Lord Jagannath a 'bhakt' of PM Modi | WATCH

Also Read: PM Modi offers prayers at Jagannath temple, holds roadshow in Odisha | In pics



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