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After PM Modi sees plot in Patnaik's health, Odisha CM says he is "perfectly alright"

New Delhi: Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) supremo Naveen Patnaik has dismissed “concerns” expressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his health stating that he is "perfectly fine" and has been campaigning in the State for the last month.

This is Chief Minister Patnaik's first detailed interview during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. 

In the exclusive interview with ANI aired on Thursday, Patnaik, who is seeking a sixth consecutive term in office, sought to downplay PM Modi’s remarks on Wednesday in which the latter wondered if there was a conspiracy behind the “failing health” of the BJD leader.

Patnaik said that if the PM was so concerned about his health, he would have called him and inquired about his health instead of stating it loudly at a public meeting.

"If the Prime Minister was so concerned about my health, even recently, he said that I'm a good friend of his; all he needed was to pick up the telephone and inquire about my health instead of stating it loudly at a public meeting three times yesterday. My health is perfectly fine. As you can see, I've been campaigning for the last month all over the state," the Odisha CM said.

"And instead of the Prime Minister just picking up the telephone and asking me about my health, he has stated it loudly at a public meeting. This means that all he's trying to do is garner votes during election time," he said.

Addressing a poll rally in Baripada under the Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha segment, which goes into vote on June 1, PM Modi said there is a "conspiracy" behind the sudden deterioration of Naveen Patnaik's health and said he would form a committee to probe into the Chief Minister's medical history.

Patnaik alleged that rumours about his health conditions have been spread by the leaders of the BJP for the last decade and that he has no health issues at all.

"This rumour has been spread by BJP people in Delhi for the last 10 years without much effect I had. And that's more or less what I have to say about that. I have no health issues at all. I'm in excellent health. I repeat again, I've been campaigning for the last month in a very hot season, and I'm fine," the BJD chief said.

When asked about a viral video which captures the visible tremors in Patanik’s hand during an election rally, the Odisha chief minister said, "It's no medical condition at all. It has been exaggerated for no reason by a visiting BJP chief minister."

Earlier, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma lashed out at Patnaik's close aide and senior BJD leader VK Pandian over the viral video in which it's quite apparent that the Odisha CM's hand is shaking and claimed that the ex-bureaucrat has held Patnaik captive and is controlling even the BJD leader's hand movements.

"This is a deeply distressing video. VK Pandian Ji is even controlling the hand movements of Naveen Babu. I shudder to imagine the level of control a retired ex-bureaucrat from Tamil Nadu is currently exercising over the future of Odisha! BJP is determined to give back the reins of Odisha to the people of the state," Assam CM posted on X.

Patnaik (77) has been serving as the Chief Minister of Odisha since 2000 and is the second-longest serving CM of any Indian state. He is seeking a record sixth term in power in the state.

Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Odisha are taking place simultaneously, in four phases, from May 13 to June 1. The counting of votes will be held on June 4.

In the last assembly elections in 2019, the BJD won 112 out of 146 seats. BJP won 23 seats and Congress got nine seats.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJD mopped up the lion's share of the electoral spoils, with the BJP and the Congress following behind. The BJD won 12 seats, the BJP finished a close second at 8, and the Congress bagged just a lone seat.

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