I am fine; BJP telling lies about my health, says Odisha CM

The Odisha CM’s comments came in light of the State BJP unit urging for a rescue of Naveen Patnaik from the ‘captivity’ of his former private secretary V.K. Pandian 

Published - May 24, 2024 06:26 pm IST - BHUBANESWAR

 Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik holds a roadshow for the Lok Sabha and State Assembly Polls, in Bhubaneswar on May 22.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik holds a roadshow for the Lok Sabha and State Assembly Polls, in Bhubaneswar on May 22. | Photo Credit: ANI

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday said he was in good health and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders were spreading lies about him.

Mr. Patnaik’s statement came in wake of no-holds-barred attack by BJP leaders who raised concerns about his health, age, and ability to make independent decisions, especially questioning his over-dependence on his former private secretary V.K. Pandian.

“There is a limit to the amount of lies BJP can tell. As you can see I am in very good health and have been campaigning all over the State for months,” Mr. Patnaik told media during his campaign on Friday.

Responding to the Opposition’s criticism, Mr. Pandian said, “I only hope that BJP comes with innovative ideas instead of talking about something which is non-existent. You are all watching Odisha CM. It is very unfortunate, below the belt.”

“People of Odisha will not appreciate this kind of insult towards a CM who enjoys such popularity among the people of Odisha. I only suggest letting them come up with something innovative. It is so substandard,” the bureaucrat-turned-politician said.

During a recent public meeting in Nayagarh district, Home Minister Amit Shah said that Mr. Patnaik, who is 77 years old, should retire due to his advanced age and health issues.

Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Giriraj Singh alleged that Mr. Patnaik was being held captive by a coterie and there were plans to appoint Mr. Pandian as next CM.

Odisha’s top BJP leaders recently held press conference where they questioned Odisha CM’s ability to take independent decision. “Mr. Patnaik’s video messages were put out using Deepfake video technology. He cannot repeat the sentences he uttered in video messages. There was massive change noticed in condition of Odisha CM compared to his health prior to 2018,” BJP’s national vice president Baijayant Panda said.

On its part, the Odisha unit of BJP has written a letter to Director General of Police urging him to rescue Odisha CM from “captivity” of his former private secretary Pandian in presence of a judge and prominent personalities.

“You must be aware about the sensitive information that Odisha CM has been held captive by Mr. Pandian over past several years. This has been proved from incidences. It is reflected from video messages posted regularly in social networking sites. Mr. Pandian and some non-Odia bureaucrats have caged him completely,” former BJP State President Sameer Mohanty said in a letter addressed to DGP (Odisha).

“We suspect that as per protocol, State Chief Secretary and DGP are not able to hold discussions with Odisha CM. It is the right of all people in Odisha to know the health condition of the CM. It is requested by the BJP that Mr. Patnaik be rescued from Mr. Pandian’s captivity in the presence of a judge and prominent personalities and opportunity be created for holding discussions with media,” Mr. Mohanty said in his letter.

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