'Keep Lord Above Politics': Odisha CM Patnaik Responds To Sambit Patra's 'Jagannath Is Devotee Of PM Modi' Comment

However, Patra later clarified that it was a slip of tongue and he wanted to mean that the PM Modi was a 'bhakt' or devotee of Lord Jagannath and not the other way round.

Sambit Patra's comment on Lord Jagannath and PM Modi stirred a controversy and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik condemned it. Photo: PTI

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday condemned BJP leader Sambit Patra's comment and asked the saffron party to keep Lord Jagannath above the political discourse. Patra after attending a roadshow with PM Modi during a media interaction said that Odisha's most revered deity is a "devotee of Prime Minister Narendra Modi" which sparked a controversy in the political circles with several reactions pouring in from opposition parties.

However, Patra later clarified that it was a slip of tongue and he wanted to mean that the PM Modi was a 'bhakt' or devotee of Lord Jagannath and not the other way round.

What Did Sambit Patra Say?

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sambit Patra on Monday sparked a major controversy while speaking with reporters during the fifth phase of the Lok Sabha election 2024 and the second phase of the Odisha Assembly election. While speaking about Odisha's culture, Sambit Patra said that “Lord Jagannath is a devotee of PM Modi". His remarks drew a sharp reaction from Opposition parties, with the local Congress unit calling it a direct attack on Odisha ‘Asmita’ (pride).

How did Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik React?

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik in an X post criticised Patra for hurting Odia 'asmita' (pride).

He wrote, "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."

Further added, "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."

BJP Leader Sambit Patra Responds

Sambit Patra responded to the CM's post and said that "we all have slip of tongue sometimes".

Patra provided a clarification of his statement as he stated, "I gave a number of bytes today to multiple media channels after the massive success of Shri Narendra Modiji's road show in Puri today, everywhere I mentioned that Modi ji is an ardent 'bhakt' of Shri Jagannath Mahaprabhu."

"By mistake during one of the bytes, I said just the opposite... 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 tongue sometimes," Patra added.

Other Reactions From Opposition Leaders

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also condemned the statement of the BJP candidate.

"I strongly condemn this statement of the BJP. They have started thinking that they are above God. This is a height of arrogance. Calling God bhakt of Modi ji is an insult to God," he posted on X.

AICC in-charge of Odisha, Ajoy Kumar, also condemned the statement, posting on X, "The country and Odisha will not tolerate this insult of Lord Jagannath!"

"Sambit Patra said that Lord Jagannath is also a devotee of PM Modi. What's more shameful than this? Their (BJP's) ego has increased this much that they have called Lord Jagannath a devotee of PM Modi. They are completely frauds," he told PTI.


The BJD president's attack on the BJP came on the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah raising the issue of Ratna Bhandar (treasury) of Lord Jagannath in poll rallies.

Addressing two election rallies in Angul and Cuttack on Monday, Modi raised the Ratna Bhandar missing key issue and sought to know why the BJD "suppressed the judicial commission report" on the matter.

"The BJD's role in the case is suspicious. After the BJP forms the government in Odisha, it will make the report public," Modi said.