’If BJP forms govt...’: PM Modi says will probe Naveen Patnaik’s health after Pandian’s hand grab incident

A video of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's aide VK Pandian grabbing his trembling hand during an election rally went viral.

Written By Arshdeep kaur
Updated29 May 2024
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public meeting for Lok Sabha elections, in Mayurbhanj, Odisha
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public meeting for Lok Sabha elections, in Mayurbhanj, Odisha(PTI)

Lok Sabha elections 2024: After a video of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's aide VK Pandian grabbing his trembling hand during an election rally went viral, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the BJP would inquire into the reason behind the BJD chief's deteriorating health.

Addressing an election rally in Odisha, PM Modi said, “If the BJP forms the government in Odisha after the ongoing assembly elections, it would constitute a committee to ascertain the reason behind the deterioration of Patnaik's health." 

Also read: ‘Odisha me pehali baar double engine ki sarkar’: PM Modi expresses confidence of thumping victory in state

The prime minister also questioned if there was a conspiracy behind Patnaik's deteriorating health. 

“Is there any conspiracy behind the deterioration of CM Naveen Patnaik's health? Is the lobby that is currently running the Patnaik government on his behalf responsible for the sudden deterioration of his health condition?” PM Modi asked.

The 77-year-old CM's hand has been trembling for at least five years now. However, what stood out in the video was how Pandian grabbed Patnaik's trembling hand and tried to conceal it.

Also read: ‘No use remembering Odisha during elections..’: Naveen Patnaik, attacks Modi on language, culture and election promises

PM Modi said, "Entire Odisha wants an Odia chief minister," likely in reference to Pandian, who hails from Tamil Nadu.

"People of Odisha have decided to put a full stop to the 25-year rule of the BJD in the state," he added.

Who is VK Pandian?

VK Pandian was born in Tamil Nadu, studied in Delhi, and started his career as a Punjab cadre IAS officer. However, after marrying an Odia woman, he shifted to the Odisha cadre. He is considered Patnaik's heir. The BJP has been calling him an "outsider" in Odisha's politics.

Also read: PM Modi throws unique challenge at Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik: ‘Name all district and their capitals without….’

BJP attacks Pandian over viral video

BJP, once an ally of Biju Janata Dal, has been attacking its leader VK Pandian ever since the video surfaced online and has claimed that his act was symbolic of his power grab.

BJP leader and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma shared the clip on X (formerly Twitter), and said, “This is a deeply distressing video. Shri VK Pandian ji even controlled the hand movements of Shri 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!”

Also read: Naveen Patnaik will take oath as Odisha CM for 6th term on June 9, says VK Pandian after PM Modi's ‘expiry day’ remark

Amit Malviya, the BJP IT cell head, suggested that Patnaik's tenure should gracefully end due to his "current indisposition".

"Naveen Patnaik ji had a memorable tenure as Chief Minister. But now he is indisposed. It is, however, unfortunate how he is being pushed to keep up a facade. Odisha realises it. A graceful farewell to the veteran politician and BJD, in these elections, would be a befitting tribute," Malviya wrote on X.

Also read: PM Modi interview: Tsunami of ‘Jan Samarthan’ for BJP… seats to significantly increase in West Bengal, Odisha, Kerala

Naveen Patnaik reacts to BJP's claims

In a video message, Naveen Pataink hit back at the BJP and called their claims “mere distraction”.  

The BJD supremo distinctively put up his left hand (the same hand) on the podium, before making his statement.

"I believe the BJP, which is known to make the non issues to issues are discussing my hands," Naveen Patnaik said on Tuesday.

"It will not work," he added.

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