Sambit Patra’s ‘Divine Blunder’: BJP Leader’s Slip Sparks Political Firestorm in Odisha

In an unprecedented political faux pas, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra has sparked a raging controversy by mistakenly stating that Lord Jagannath is a devotee of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The remark was made in response to media inquiries after Modi’s procession in Puri, Odisha and was promptly attacked by adversaries and religious followers.

To limit the damage, Patra declared “upvaas” (fasting) as his solution; he blamed the sweltering heat and commotion at the rally for his mistake. “It was an inadvertent slip of the tongue,” he wrote on social media asking for forgiveness from Lord Jagannath and others. However, this didn’t reduce the fury.

Naveen Patnaik, Odisha Chief Minister, led this protest saying that what Patra had said amounts to denigrating Lord Jagannath who millions of people worship with sanctity. According to him, “This has hurt the sentiments of Jagannath bhaktas and Odias worldwide”. He added that it would be better if BJP kept deities away from political discourse.

In the same vein, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi accused BJP of “dangerous self-aggrandizement”. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also referred to the statement as an “insult to God.” A formal complaint has also been filed by the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee. According to the complaint this was deliberately insulting religious sentiments and it should be dealt with firmly.

Let’s explore some reactions of netizen’s on this ‘Divine blunder’ –

The occurrence is taking place at a time when BJP aims at expanding its clout in Odisha. Lord Jagannath has immense importance for the people of Odisha, as it is their cultural symbol. As a result, Patra’s mistake could drive away voters who are extremely important. This incident underlines the perils of political rhetoric. There is a need of greater regard for cultural and religious sentiments.

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