Amid row over meeting Pope, Naveen Patnaik visits Sheikh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi

Patnaik, who is on an 11-day foreign tour, had met Pope Francis on June 22, with the saffron party questioning his intention of meeting the Catholic Church head.

Published: 28th June 2022 03:12 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th June 2022 03:12 PM   |  A+A-

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik . (File Photo)

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik . (File Photo)

By PTI

BHUBANESWAR: Amid criticism by opposition BJP over meeting Pope Francis at Vatican City last week, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has visited Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi ahead of meeting potential investors in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Patnaik, who is on an 11-day foreign tour, had met Pope Francis on June 22, with the saffron party questioning his intention of meeting the Catholic Church head.

"The marble dome of Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi is an epitome of magnificence with intricate inlay work inspired by Moghul architecture. I am told, the artisans and the marbles also came from Makrana village of Rajasthan. A bit of India, everywhere," Patnaik tweeted along with a video of his visit to the mosque on Monday.

Patnaik, who will return to Odisha on June 30, is scheduled to visit Puri to witness Lord Jagannath's annual Ratha Jatra on July 1.

To underline his secular credentials, Patnaik is making visits to religious places of different faiths, a BJD insider said.

Senior BJP lawmaker Jaynarayan Mishra, who is among those considered for the post of the Leader of Opposition in Odisha assembly, has questioned Patnaik's Vatican City visit.

"By spending public money, why did CM go there and what did he achieve in return? What was the need to meet the Pope by standing in a queue? We have never seen him meet Shankaracharya in Puri," Mishra has said.

The BJP, however, has not yet reacted on Patnaik's visit to the mosque.

Reacting to the BJP's objection, BJD legislator S B Behera said, "What is wrong in meeting the Pope? If this meeting creates a positive image of Odisha in the world, the CM has taken the right decision."

This is Patnaik's second official foreign tour in the last 22 years of his reign in Odisha.



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