BJD ups ante over Sambit Patra’s ‘slip of tongue’; EC censures ex-Cal HC judge | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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BJD ups ante over Sambit Patra’s ‘slip of tongue’; EC censures ex-Cal HC judge

May 22, 2024 10:18 AM IST

Sambit Patra landed himself and the party in a soup when during an interview where he claimed that he inadvertently said that even Lord Jagannath is a bhakt (devotee) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Puri, Sambit Patra’s remark few days ahead of the May 25 polls has landed him in troubled waters. Patra, who is a party spokesperson and a popular television face landed himself and the party in a soup when during an interview where he claimed that he inadvertently said that even Lord Jagannath is a bhakt (devotee) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Patra has apologised and vowed penance, but the ruling BJD is having none of that. (PTI file photo)
Patra has apologised and vowed penance, but the ruling BJD is having none of that. (PTI file photo)

Patra has apologised and vowed penance, but the ruling BJD is having none of that. The party, which was accused of hurting Odiya pride by projecting a non-Odiya VK Pandian as its face has returned fire, claiming that the BJP insulted Lord Jagannath.

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The BJP’s woes have been compounded as the DMK has taken umbrage to the PM’s comment that the missing keys of the temple’s Ratna Bhandar or treasury have been taken to Tamil Nadu. The statement was a broadside against VK Pandian tracing his roots to Tamil Nadu.

MK Stalin the CM of Tamil Nadu has criticised the BJP and said that the prime minister has not only insulted Lord Jagannath, but also wounded, the people of Tamil Nadu who share a cordial relationship with Odisha.

He said the speech is aimed at instigating the people of Odisha against the people of Tamil Nadu, whose devotion to Lord Jagannath is immeasurable.

During his visit to Puri, the PM made a reference to the missing key and said, “When the keys of houses are lost, we pray to Lord Jagannath and find them within one or two hours with the Lord’s blessing. But the keys of Lord Jagannath Ratna Bhandar are missing, and it has been six years now. The report of the commission of inquiry into the missing keys of Ratna Bhandar report has been suppressed for six years as the keys have gone to Tamil Nadu.”

Censure

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has censured former Calcutta high court judge and BJP candidate from Tamluk in West Bengal Abhijit Gangopadhyay for his remarks against chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

The BJP candidate has been barred from campaigning for 24 hours beginning 5pm on Tuesday. The poll panel has also urged party president JP Nadda to issue an advisory to leaders to prevent lapses.

The former high court judge had made disparaging comments against Banerjee which the RLEC found were “beyond dignity in every sense of the term and in bad taste.”

For his part, the former judge has written to the pole panel to reconsider its decision after which he will approach the courts.

Gangopadhyay’s statement is not just a breach of the model code of conduct that bars vituperative campaigning, but also overlooks Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s instruction to party leaders to refrain from carrying out a negative campaign.

Ahead of the elections, the prime minister had explicitly told the party leaders to refrain from making disparaging comments or resorting to abuse of their political opponents.

This is also not the first time the election commission has been approached to act against a BJP candidate’s speech against their political opponent. The Congress had approached the poll watchdog with a plea seeking action against the PM’s speech which they alleged targeted the minorities.

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