BJD Leaders Turn Up In Lungis In Response To BJP’s ‘Lungi’ Jibe, Assert Cultural Symbolism

Bhubaneswar: In a strategic move, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leaders Sasmit Patra and Swayam Prakash Mohapatra donned lungis instead of their usual attire during a recent press conference at the Sankha Bhawan, the BJD headquarters in Odisha.

This unconventional choice of clothing was a direct response to Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s jab at Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who was seen wearing a lungi in a campaign video.

Pradhan’s remark, criticizing Patnaik’s public appearance in a lungi, sparked controversy. However, the BJD swiftly turned the narrative around, defending the lungi as a cultural symbol and criticizing Pradhan for demeaning Odisha’s traditions.

The lungi controversy is not just about clothing; it symbolizes deeper political tensions in Odisha. Patnaik’s aide, VK Pandian, who hails from Tamil Nadu, has faced criticism for his influence in Odisha politics. The BJP has capitalized on this, portraying Pandian as an “outsider” wielding undue influence over the Chief Minister.

The BJP’s attempts to target the BJD by highlighting Pandian’s role have been met with staunch resistance. BJD leaders have rallied around the lungi incident, framing it as an attack on Odisha’s identity and culture.

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