BJP spokesperson and the party’s candidate from Puri, Sambit Patra, last week faced considerable embarrassment after videos posted by him showed an old lady preparing a meal using traditional firewood. This, according to his critics, exposed the success of the much-publicized Ujjawala scheme by the Centre’s Narendra Modi government.
Patra’s critics were quick to highlight the irony in his videos since not only was he himself a director with the ONGC, but also the Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan hailed from Odisha. Pradhan is also being projected as the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate.
Fearing its adverse impact on his poll prospects, Patra on Tuesday took to social media to post an ‘interview’ with the old lady who was seen serving him a meal in the controversial video. In the video posted by Patra, a ‘reporter’ is seen interviewing the old lady and asking her whether she had benefited from the Modi government’s Ujjwala scheme.
The woman told the ‘reporter’ that while her family received the LPG connection from the government about a month ago, she preferred to cook food in the traditional way by using firewood. According to her, her daughter-in-law used the gas cylinder to cook food.
Curiously, there was no sight of a cooking gas cylinder even when the ‘reporter’ spoke to the woman in question.
While posting the video, Patra wrote, “Who says the old mother did not get the gas connection under the Ujjwala scheme? The mother said that her daughter-in-law uses that to cook food. Modi gave her a house, Ujjwala. What did the BJD government do in the last 19 years?”
कौन कहता है कि बूढ़ी माँ को उज्ज्वला योजना के माध्यम से गैस कनेक्शन नहीं मिला, माँ ने बताया कि बहू उसपर खाना बनाती है। घर मोदी ने दिया, इज्जतघर मोदी ने दिया, उज्जवला मोदी ने दिया तो 19 साल तक @bjd_odisha सरकार ने क्या किया?? pic.twitter.com/GFzMmt6Phn
— Chowkidar Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) April 2, 2019
However, not many users appeared convinced with Patra’s clarification video with many still accusing him of resorting to a cover up to hide his embarrassment. User Rupal Vasavada asked, “How much money did she get this to say that?” User Anil Verma posted Patra’s photo of garlanding a poor man near a thatched house and wrote sarcastically, “And her (the old lady’s) son may be living in this house provided under the PM Housing scheme?” User SR Ramnayaran asked, “Seems like there is no cylinder . Did the scheme not reach your host or they did not have money to refill.”
The BJP has fielded Patra as its candidate from Puri in this year’s Lok Sabha polls. Modi was expected to choose Puri as his second seat but the party fielded its controversial spokesperson from here.