BJP Leader Sambit Patra to Observe 3-Day Fast

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After Controversial Remark on Lord Jagannath, BJP Leader Sambit Patra to Observe 3-Day Fast

| Updated: May 21, 2024 14:37

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sambit Patra, who is in the thick of controversy following his remarks regarding Lord Jagannath, on Tuesday clarified his remarks by expressing regret for his “slip of the tongue”, and announcing a period of “upvaas” (fasting) as atonement.

On Monday, Patra had said that Lord Jagannath is a ‘devotee, or bhakt, of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’ in an interview with a local news channel. His statement was strongly condemned. The ruling Biju Janata Dal described it as an insult to Lord Jagannath and Odisha across the world.

Taking to social media platform X (formally Twitter), he said: “Today, a statement made by me had created a controversy. After PM Narendra Modi’s roadshow in Puri, I gave byte to many media channels and everywhere I said the same thing, that PM Narendra Modi is an ardent devotee of Mahaprabhu Jagannath… In the end, when another channel took my byte, it was extremely hot, crowded and noisy. Unknowingly, while giving the byte, I said the opposite, that Mahaprabhu is a devotee of PM Narendra Modi. This can never be true, and a person in his senses can never say such things that god is a devotee of a human. I have made this mistake unintentionally. I know some people must have been hurt but even God forgives mistakes made unintentionally… I need to seek forgiveness from Mahaprabhu Jagannath for this slip of the tongue and I have decided to do a 3-day ‘upvaas’.”

In a sharp social media post, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik condemned Patra’s words, stating that they were disrespectful to millions of devotees and insulted the sanctity of “Mahaprabhu” Jagannath.

“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.

Leaders of other parties joined the chorus of outrage as the controversy soon gathered traction. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi criticised the BJP for what he saw as its arrogance, claiming that the party’s self-aggrandisement was dangerously high. Similar words were expressed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who described Patra’s remarks as an “insult to God” and the height of arrogance.

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