Published 12:43 IST, May 21st 2024

BJP's Sambit Patra To Observe 'Upvaas' As Penance After Slip of Tongue in Puri

During campaign in Puri, Sambit Patra was quoted saying that “Lord Jagannath is an ardent Bhakt of PM Modi," which landed him in controversy.

Reported by: Apoorva Shukla
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Sambit Patra | Image: X

New Delhi: BJP leader and party's Puri candidate Sambit Patra has vowed to observe a fast (upvaas) for 3 days in atonement as he was apologetic about his statement regarding Lord Jagannath. Patra said that it was an unintentional mistake and he will seek forgiveness from Lord Jagannath by observing a fast. 

“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,” said Sambit Patra while speaking to ANI.


“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 ‘upvaas’,” he added.



During campaign in Puri, Sambit Patra was quoted saying that “Modi ji is an ardent Bhakt of Shri Jagannath Mahaprabhu”. As the opposition parties took the opportunity to corner Patra, the BJP leader said that it was a slip of tongue.

Patra Responds to Patnaik

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik had attacked the BJP over Patra's remarks and had asked the "BJP to keep the Lord above any political discourse".  In response Patnaik's post, Patra said, “I know you too know and understand this... Sir let’s not make an issue out of a nonexistent issue... we all have “slip of the tongue sometimes."


BJD leader and Odisha CM Patnaik in a post on X said, "Mahaprabhu Shree Jagannatha is the Lord of 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." "The Lord is the greatest Symbol of Odia Asmita. Calling Mahaprabhu a bhakt of another human being is totally condemnable.

"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," Patnaik said.


Congress Finds an Opportunity

But the opposition parties latched on to the remarks, denouncing them as an "insult" to Lord Jagannath. "BJP leader Sambit Patra saying that Mahaprabhu Lord Shri Jagannath is a devotee of Narendra Modi. This is a grave insult to Mahaprabhu. This statement has hurt the faith of crores of devotees," the Congress said on its X handle. "Sambit Patra, who is immersed in Modi Bhakti, should not have committed this sin. Narendra Modi should apologise for this disgusting statement," the party said. Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said it reinforces "our charge that a BJP, drunk with power, will not even spare our Gods, let alone India’s people".

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also said in a post on X in Hindi, "When the prime minister starts considering himself as an emperor and his 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," Gandhi said.


PM Campaigns For Patra in Puri 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered prayers at the Jagannath temple in Puri on Monday morning, and led a roadshow here to canvass support for candidates of the BJP. He led the roadshow from Marichkote square to Medical square on Grand Road in Puri. The PM was accompanied by state BJP president Manmohan Samal, the party’s MP candidate Sambit Patra and Puri MLA nominee Jayanta Sarangi. Thousands of people lined up on both sides of the barricaded stretch on Grand Road, waving at the prime minister, holding the lotus symbol.

Puri Lok Sabha constituency will be voting on May 25 in the sixth phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, where Patra is facing Congress' Jayanarayan Patnaik. While the BJP has replaced its long-standing MP Pinaki Misra with former Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik. 

09:36 IST, May 21st 2024