regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Sambit Patra's 'Jagannath' remark: Congress slams BJP, asks Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apologise

Congress leader Supriya Shrinate said she believes what Patra has said is an "absolute insult" to the faith that billions of Hindus have in their religion and in the gods

PTI New Delhi Published 21.05.24, 07:27 PM
Sambit Patra

Sambit Patra File

The Congress on Tuesday slammed the BJP over the party's Puri Lok Sabha candidate Sambit Patra's 'Lord Jagannath' remark and demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi's apology over the issue.

Patra on Monday had said that Odisha's most revered deity "Lord Jagannath is a devotee of Prime Minister Narendra Modi". He, however, later clarified that it was a slip of tongue and he wanted to mean that the prime minister was an ardent 'bhakt' (devotee) of Lord Jagannath.


Embroiled in the controversy, Patra also apologised later and and announced he will undertake penance by observing fast for three days from Tuesday after being criticised from different quarters.

Addressing a press conference on the issue at the AICC headquarters here, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said, "It won't be accepted the way they (BJP) are disrespecting the Hindu gods and faith of crores of Hindus by becoming PM Modi's 'andhbhakt'. BJP leader Sambit Patra surprised people yesterday by saying that 'Lord Jagannath is Narendra Modi's bhakt'." "Who gave him the right to say something like this? He is now apologising when they are facing its consequences," Shrinate said.

The Congress leader said she believes what Patra has said is an "absolute insult" to the faith that billions of Hindus have in their religion and in the gods.

Modi will have to apologise for it, Shrinate said.

"Such propaganda has been seen in history before. Hitler also used to call himself a form of God and Kim Jong Un also calls himself a divine power. Sambit Patra called Lord Jagannath a devotee of Modi, but when there was an uproar he said that it was a slip of tongue," Shrinate said.

She claimed this is not the first time that the BJP has insulted Hindu gods and goddesses by equating them with Modi.

"During the Pran Pratishtha (at the Ram temple in Ayodhya), a photo was posted from the official handle of BJP in which Shri Ram is in the form of a child and Narendra Modi is taking him back by holding his finger. During the Pran Pratishtha, bigger cut-outs of Narendra Modi than those of Shri Ram were installed in Ayodhya," she claimed.

"Champat Rai had declared Narendra Modi to be the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Union minister Giriraj Singh had described Narendra Modi as an incarnation of God. ... BJP leader Sakshi Maharaj had described Narendra Modi as Lord Ram," Shrinate said.

Talking to media persons in front of Puri Jagannath temple on Tuesday, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, "If Sambit Patra was in the Congress party, he would have been immediately expelled from the party for playing with the faith of crores of devotees of Lord Jagannath. The prime minister should expel Sambit Patra from the party." He also demanded that the prime minister should apologise to crores of devotees of Lord Jagannath within 24 hours over Patra's remarks.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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