Odisha minister in soup for comparing CM with Lord Jagannath
An Odisha minister has courted controversy by comparing Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik with Lord Jagannath, sparking a statewide hue and cry and prompting opposition parties to demand an unconditional apology.
Industries Minister P K Deb, during a BJD meeting on Friday, had said that Odisha is now identified by the name of Patnaik, but earlier it used to be known for Lord Jagannath.
"There was a time when people knew Odisha because of Lord Jagannath. But now, if you say that you come from Odisha, people across India will immediately identify it as the place of CM Naveen Patnaik,'' the minister had said.
His comments drew widespread condemnation from opposition parties and religious bodies.
"It's "Arrogance" to the hilt when a minister in Odisha, Pratap Keshari Deb says that while earlier people recognised Odisha in the name of Lord Jagannath… now it's the CM who's become more famous than the Lord… & Odisha now is known because of Naveen Patnaik & not Jagannath ji," said BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra.
"This is demeaning the faith of 4.5 crore Odias and all the Hindus across the Globe. We all would like to know whether the CM too concurs with the statement of Shri Deb… if not will the CM reprimand the said Minister?," tweeted Patra, who had lost the previous Lok Sabha election from Puri.
BJP state general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan also slammed the minister and said his comments reflect the "height of ignorance".
"The BJD has crossed all limits of pride and arrogance. They have started seeing their party leaders as the alternative to Lord Shri Jagannath," he said.
Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Sarat Pattnayak dubbed the minister's remarks as unfortunate.
The opposition members also sought an unconditional apology from Deb, who could not be contacted for comments.
Meanwhile, the Shree Jagannath Sena staged a demonstration in Puri, criticising Deb for his statement.
A senior servitor of the Shree Jagannath Temple in Puri, Binayak Dasmohapatra, said the minister made such a comment because of the BJD's "overstay" in power.
"How can anyone dare to compare the Lord with any human being, even if he is the CM," he said.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)