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"He should eat properly," BJD's VK Pandian takes dig at Sambit Patra's decision to fast as penance for remarks on Lord Jagannath

New Delhi: Following outrage over BJP leader Sambit Patra's remark that "Lord Jagannath is Modi's bhakt", for which he announced to undertake a penance by observing fast for three days, 5T Chairman and BJD leader VK Pandian said that the former should take care and eat properly because of prevailing heat and dust.
Pandian's statement comes after, BJP leader and party's Puri Lok Sabha candidate Sambit Patra clarified that his remark was a "slip of the tongue", and also announced to undertake penance by observing a fast for three days from Tuesday.
Referring to this, Pandian in an interview with ANI, said, "I think he should take care, there is too much heat and dust. He should eat properly and take care. Three days before elections, he should not faint. He is a doctor, he should know what to do."
Asked about whether the BJD will escalate this issue, Pandian said that the BJD never believes in doing politics over religion, especially Lord Jagannath who is the symbol of Odisha identity.
"Lord Jagannath can never be escalated and Lord Jagannath should always be above everything else. BJD never believes in politics over religion, especially Lord Jagannath who is the symbol of Odisha's identity," he said.
He further said that Odisha Chief Minister Navin Patnaik has always felt that we should keep our God outside politics.
"I think whatever the time lag was there many people have their comments on social media that it had hurt the sentiments of people of Odisha and BJP is talking about Odiya. Lord Jagannath is the symbol of Odiya. Chief Minister has always felt that we should keep our God outside politics. They are immortal and we are mortal. Why we should mix both? So he felt hurt when this statement happened," the BJD leader said.
Hitting out at the BJP, Pandian said that Lord Jagannath has been dragged into politics so much in this election which is not fair. People of Odisha don't like dragging religion or Lord Jagannath into politics.
"They have been harping on Odiya and Navin Patnaik is genuinely upset. Lord Jagannath has been dragged into politics so much in this election which is not fair. People of Odisha don't like dragging religion or Lord Jagannath into politics. You say that you've done this work, we have reduced the price of rice, we've done great infrastructure, we've provided jobs and go for vote. Why do you have to drag the Lord for elections, that shows that you're a little desperate," he said.
Patra landed in controversy on Monday after he told a local news channel that "Lord Jagannath is a devotee (bhakt) of PM Modi." He later described it as a "slip of the tongue."
Prime Minister Modi held a roadshow in the holy city of Puri on Monday morning along with BJP candidate Sambit Patra and addressed two public rallies later in the day.
The 2024 Lok Sabha elections are being held in seven phases from April 19 to June 1. The counting and results will be declared on June 4.

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