BJP Seeks CM’s Clarification On Servitors’ Disrespect To First Lady

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Bhubaneswar: The BJP on Friday sought a clarification from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the issue relating to the alleged disrespect to the First Lady Savita Kovind, wife of the President Ram Nath Kovind, during the visit of the couple to the Jagannath Temple in Puri on March 18 this year.

“As far as I know, no such incident occurred during the visit of the President and his wife to Jagannath Temple. Since there is no question of a written complaint to this effect to the temple administration from the Rashtrapati Bhawan, who made this issue controversial and with what intention?  Let the chief minister give a clarification on whether the statement of the BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb or the chief secretary is true,” BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told
mediapersons here.

Pointing a finger at Pratap Deb, he sought to know on what basis did the BJD leader say that the Rashtrapati Bhawan had sent a letter of complaint. “Was he briefed by the chief secretary or the chief minister?” Pradhan asked.

Replying to the statement of the BJP leader, Deb said as he had given a statement on this issue on the basis of the information by the media, which should be answerable on this issue.

Notably, Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi had on Thursday denied receiving any such complaint from Rashtrapati Bhawan.

He said he does not have anything else to add since the Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) had already issued a clarification in this regard.

Prior to the statement of the chief secretary, SJTA chief administrator Pradipta Mohapatra had told the media that since the temple administration has not received any letter from Rashtrapati Bhawan regarding the incident, the matter should end there.

According to a local news channel, which had raised the issue, the Rashtrapati Bhawan communique, in a letter to the temple administration had stated that three servitors had allegedly misbehaved with Savita Kovind, while she was offering prayers inside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple on March 18. The Khuntia Mekap Sevayats present there allegedly did not allow the President and his wife in and brushed them aside.