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For someone who lives his life under studio lights, BJP’s Sambit Patra is quite the mystery man.

Colleagues at Delhi’s Hindu Rao Hospital remember him as a genial, popular medical officer, with a surprising penchant for quoting from the Bhagavad Gita. So, when they watch him now, 20 years later, telling a spokesman from the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen, “Aye suno Allah ke bhakt ho to baith jao warna kisi masjid ka naam badal kar bhagwan Vishnu ke naam rakh doonga,” they are understandably shocked. Their soft-spoken colleague displays talents they had no clue of – he can break into song in the middle of a debate, address every Muslim speaker as Maulana/ISIS agent/Mr Jinnah, act as a Nehru-Gandhi family pujari and even jump up and offer his cheek to Congress’ Sanjay Nirupam so that he may slap him.

Very little in the life of Dr Patra, MBBS from VSS Medical College and Hospital, Burla, Sambalpur, and Master of Surgery from SCB Medical College, Cuttack, Utkal University, suggested that he would end up becoming the voice of toxic politics, the face of Smug Bharat, and the symbol of everything that is dysfunctional in the BJP-led government. But thanks to an acute paucity of talent, which has seen their finest spokespersons being sent to the government, leaving a huge vacuum for B-listers to fill, the 44-year-old is now at the top of the heap of his party’s defenders.


Also read: Young urban Indians who say ‘I am not casteist bro’ enable Sambit Patra’s gotra comments


Much before he burst into our homes with his dramatic pronouncements and preposterous playacting, the BJP’s national spokesperson had used his frequent presence at BJP meetings in the Chandni Chowk and Malkaganj areas to become close enough to Delhi’s BJP leaders, and now Union ministers Vijay Goel and Dr Harsh Vardhan. In 2011, while still living in the doctor’s quarters of Hindu Rao Hospital, he became the spokesman for Delhi BJP. By 2012, he was the BJP’s candidate for the Kashmere Gate ward in the municipal council elections, promising voters he would fix their naali and naadi (drains and pulse rates). In those days, he would adorn himself with a stethoscope and talk only about development. An Indian Express reporter who was trailing him one day quoted him saying: “The ward has three government hospitals, but such is the state of affairs that women are unable to get treatment. I wish to change all this. Development is incomplete if there aren’t better health facilities.”

He lost that election, badly, but by that time he had caught Union minister Arun Jaitley’s eye, who made him national spokesman in 2014. Since then, his rise to fame has been inversely proportionate to the decline in television discourse. When in opposition, and specifically under Nitin Gadkari as party president, the BJP media unit had a clear narrative – bash the government on corruption and bandy about a series of yet-to-be-proven figures picked up from CAG reports. With Narendra Modi as Prime Minister and Amit Shah as party president, the media that is not with them is clearly perceived to be against them. Prodyut Bora who founded the IT cell for BJP in 2007 knew Patra well, but now feels sorry to see his intelligence being misused. “He is now at best a rabble-rouser with a medieval mindset, but what can you say of a party that has Tajinder Singh Bagga as a spokesman,” says Bora referring to the founding member of New Delhi-based Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena, who is better known as BJP’s vitriolic troll-about-town. Bora, who left the BJP in 2015, says Patra has a very bright future in the current dispensation, where shrillness and loyalty to the leader matters above all else. Even if the leader, Amit Shah, doesn’t remember his name – in a recent press conference when the BJP chief referred to Patra as ‘Sandeep Patra’, it set off a series of fresh jokes.

Co-founder of Newslaundry, Abhinandan Sekhri, acknowledges that Patra (whom the website calls ‘National Trollsperson’) provides them with a lot of quick fodder with his outrageous statements, but says he represents the BJP much more accurately than anyone else – in his veneration of illiteracy and lack of respect for any scientific, rational and logical argument. It is something Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi has noticed most acutely. “When we began debating in 2013, Sambit used to come prepared with facts and figures. But since the BJP came to power, I have noticed three new trends among their spokespersons – initially, they would primarily extol Prime Minister Modi’s greatness. Then they would launch into offensive attacks on the Congress leadership. And now they are reduced to attacking individual spokespersons – inflicting insults when we raise issues, in a sort of Balaji-isation of TV news.” She points to a recent debate where Patra called her a “society girl” and suggested that it was well known that she was “very, very close” to the party president. It’s an age-old tactic: silencing by women by innuendo and ridicule, added to which is a dangerous new element, the prospect of violence with live debates where audiences are often instigated by the spokespersons.


Also read: Arun Jaitley is right, voters and TV viewers are suffering from fatigue


Sambit Patra may have been compared recently to Doraemon and Mickey Mouse by a TV anchor who was quoting a child, but there is not much that is innocent about him. He routinely insults Muslims, is nasty to women, and occasionally even encourages audiences with “Joote maro Rahul ko”. He also clearly takes fashion tips from the Dear Leader. “Jaisa desh, waisa bhesh,” he is often heard saying, wearing a smart suit for a gathering of young people, a crispdhoti kurta for an event in the east, multi-coloured jackets for TV studios, accessorised with expensive Kashmiri kani shawls for informal gatherings – this being a must-have in the wardrobe of all Jaitley-ites.

The wardrobe has expanded to keep pace with his new-found fame. Not only is he mobbed in public places, but he is also the subject of an extraordinary number of memes. From one that says that he is S. Patra for everyone else and Sparta for Arnab Goswami to another rather mean-minded one that says, “Main aaj bhi Modiji ke pheke hue kapde pehenta hoon”, there is a meme for every moment. ABP News anchor Dibang, who has been a journalist for over 30 years and has seen many spokespersons stumble and fumble, thinks Patra is a star. “It’s his job to speak for his party and he does it with a mixture of theatricality and topicality, which is irresistible. He will be humble one minute and full of fury another minute. He can be acerbic, controversial, and sharp. That he is most hated by the opposition is a measure of his success.”

Sambit Patra is symptomatic of the anti-intellectualism of the BJP in that he doesn’t seem alarmed at the number of times he has been caught falling for fake news (remember the doctored video of Kanhaiya Kumar shouting slogans?) and even faker images (he famously held up a photoshopped picture of US soldiers at Iwo Jima in 2016 to suggest that these were Indian soldiers in Kargil).

Several of his colleagues speak off the record of his ability – which they claim they do not wish to cultivate – of throwing himself out there, and stationing himself in TV studios for hours for debates where the shrillest voice wins. Indeed his dedication to taking the bullet for his bosses knows no bounds – to the extent that he doesn’t mind being accused by the Congress of violating poll guidelines for holding an impromptu press conference or being threatened with a defamation suit by Sandeep Dikshit for suggesting that he was sacked.


Also read: Things seem to be falling apart for Narendra Modi, and the Centre cannot hold


For someone who lives his life under studio lights, Sambit Patra is also quite the mystery man. Not much is known about his family except that he goes home occasionally to Sambalpur to visit his parents and that he now lives in North Avenue, that he runs something called the Centre for Holistic Advancement and Upliftment of Poor and Landless, which has five directors including him and was addressed in 2014 by chief guest Jaitley, and that he has a confirmed spot for the next three years as director on the ONGC board.

Those who have known him since his days as an MCD candidate say they will not be surprised if a confirmed spot in the Rajya Sabha is next. You can bet he will have a song, a smart line and a slogan ready for the occasion.

How low can Sambit Patra go?

Check out these five TV moments:

1. “Jahan tak Musalmaano ko target karne ka sawal hai … kabhi Hindu ne Muslamaan kya, kisi ko bhi target nahin kiya. Usi ka nateeja hai ki aap dekhiye Hindustan main humaare Musalmaan bhai acche se phale-phoole hain … aur aaj 20 se 25 pratishit sankhya unki bani hai … 2 pratishit se 25 pratishit pahunche hain Hindustan main … toh kaun target kar raha hai? (Hindus have never targeted Muslims. This is the reason why Muslims have flourished in the country. Their population has increased from 2 to 25 per cent)”

2. “Supreme Court ne kaha hai ki ek gai ka gobar Kohinoor se bhi zyada mehnga hota hai (Supreme Court has said that dung from one cow is more precious than the Kohinoor).”

3. “Hindustani ka khaati hai aur Shabnam Lone Pakistan ka gaati (Shabnam Lone takes money from India and sings a Pakistani tune).”

4. “Modiji desh ke baap hai (Modiji is the father of the nation, in response to Kanhaiya Kumar asking whether Modiji is his chachaji).”

5. “Bas topi lao main namaaz padne jaa raha hoon (Give me a skullcap, I will now have no recourse but to do the namaaz).”

The writer is a senior journalist and was Editor of India Today between 2011 and 2014.

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54 COMMENTS

  1. It’s pretty obvious Sambit Patra’s medical degree is as fake as he himself is. Else why would he give up a noble profession to become a 2 paisa abusive rabble rouser on stage & off? Just so he can score lucrative brownie points within his equally abusive right wing party?

  2. Sandip Patra will ruin BJP. Better reign his misadventures better for BJP. I have listened his some public debate ..he is fluent and thinks he has become Vajpayee. He is just a drop in ocean. The kind of language and incitement he uses is not in good health. BJP must consider Sushma Swaraj for PM candidate in 2019.

  3. the vitriol you pour on BJP is amazing. No balance in reporting if Sambit is as bad you make it out, your commentary is equally lop sided

  4. I am thoroughly anti-BJP myself (especially of the present Modi-Shah edition of it), but not as anti-Samvit Patra as this author seems to be. I have watched him in many TV debates, and I can say with a fair amount of fair-mindedness that he doesn’t deserve to be censored as single-mindedly as the author has done. The quotes that are quoted here must be his worst, the kind of quotes we all are vulnerable to produce in extreme agitation. Rahul ko jutey maro, and masjid ko Vishnu ka naam de doonga etc. are not the “norms” for Samvit Patra.

    It’s a given fact that ALL Hindutva guys, their most articulate leaders, spokespersons like Samvit Patra or the dumbest foot soldiers, they all have a hermetically sealed thought process — no light, no fresh air can ever sneak into it. They keep re-churning, re-gurgitating prejudices. That’s why they can never score in a logical, balance-headed debate. Even in such situations I have seen Samvit Patra carry himself with a reasonable amount of dignity. In fact of all the Hindutva brigade I have seen only Seshadari Chari who comes across as more acceptable (or respectable) than Patra.

    But these quoted texts must be real for sure. The bitterness or rudeness that has now started becoming evident in Samvit Patra’s discourse reflects not so much his basic nature as his exasperation — a kind of unaccepted defeat, a kind of unspoken admission that the cause of Narendra Modi government has now become indefensible. I do not know if we should censor Samvit Patra for that or sympathize with him.

  5. S Patra is right about the unhndered growth of Muslims in India. you can contrast this with percentage growth of Hindus in India .
    On the other hand, in our own states like Kashmirs, Hindus have been hounded out.In Pakistan, Hindu percentage has drastically shrunk from that in 1947. these are incontrovertible facts and stating them does not make one a rabid Hindu zealot.
    You can see swanky masjids being built even in Ladakh and other parts of India.
    You can also see the rapid growth of churches in obscure places especially in the south but generally all over India.
    I am proud of the freedom, that minotities enjoy in India.

  6. ThePrint now profiles each bjp person?

    “bash the government on corruption and bandy about a series of yet-to-be-proven figures picked up from CAG reports. ” nice Chamchagiri madam

    Please profile zero loss theory inventor.

  7. Not only Sambit Patra but also Sanjay Jha and Pawan Khera of the Congress party are pain to watch and hear. A write up on these two ia also called for.

  8. It is a myth / fallacy that this sort of spokesmanship wins friends and influences people, any more than the troll army does. Arrogance follows power as night does day, but it can be redeemed by a certain class and refinement.

  9. Sambit Patra Have 26 lakh followers Twitters. His main competitor in Congress Priyanka Chaturvedi has less than 6 lakhs. Shekhar Gupta has just 20 lakhs. Let people decide whom they want to watch and listen. Your article was full of injustice to Sambit Patra and his 26 Lakh followers.

  10. Does this man require such big space? A person who cannot maintain dignity in public speaking can only be Pokeperson for BJP. It is true that like other spokesperson of different parties, he has to defend its leaders and party, but has no right to cross limits of decency. He also happens to have half backed knowledge about certain personalities and events which has got exposed on several occasions.

  11. The writer is a leftist with a heinous mindset.
    That is why sambit sounds toxic to her.
    First she should purge her stinking thoughts and mind.

  12. Sambit Patra is a classic example of how low a man can stoop for posts and ranks. In fact he he read Mr Modi’s mind well and is doing what the bigg boss wants. But this nasty propaganda machine is doing no good to BJP. People are fade up enough to all these antics. And if BJP is thrown out after the 2019 elections, it is Sambit Patra who will be the first scape goat to be produced on the altar.

  13. He might be guilty of some charges you have levelled against him but is he any worse compared to the spokespersons of other parties. He rankles because he takes the battle to the rival camps? In the instances you quote, I’m not sure he was in the company of saints.

  14. Always One Sided news, I want THE PRINT to be neutral or to be banned.

    You are a news website not UPA or naxal Spokesperson.

    I am not a BJP supporter, rather hate them, but I want news channels & websites to be neutral and do their jobs without doing paid propoganda, but THE PRINT always has a article to show negitives of BJP and do the same to UPA or AAP or any other political party, GROW UP.

  15. This is quite stupid analysis of one’s personality. And the opinions have also been taken from one Congress spokesperson who I have never seen putting any logic so far in any debate.And all those offensive sentences quoted by Patra should be seen in the actual situation he was in(the comments from other people on debate). TV debate now a days have become circus and all are responsible for it. As far as Patra is concerned I feel he does his job and that too with full responsibility

  16. A Tactful spokesperson. Best
    suited to silence selfstyle Pakistani fans in Indian media. We have seen enough of Kanhaya , Barkha datt drama in the past. we have also seen sick channels like NDTV in the past. Now some time for Indianness. long live nationalism.
    @Ruskin.

  17. Lutyens media durbaris have been choked by Sambit. From targeting Modi to Shah to Yogi and now even youngster Sambit shows that you all are losing badly in your game.

  18. He is a straight forward, free, frank & fearless personality. He speaks naked truth may not be liked by hypocrites. Long live till creation of t
    new India.

  19. Each and claim that Dr Sambit Patra did is mere reflection of fact which no other party netas ever dare to utter because of cheap vote bank politics. Only BJP has nation first policy rest all either madam first, bahenji first, family first, religion first or jaati first policy

  20. Not only Sri Sambit Patra , many people who are religious bent of mind , frequently quote Slokas to emphasis what is good and also well educated ,brilliant tend to lose balance and show their personality. I think this is their original personality. It is really pitiable condition in today’s politics. Even with otherwise good balanced way also the points can be putforth with sufficient emphasis. One need not become theatrical in conversation.

  21. Sambit patra is good person .
    He left upsc job , comes to politics.
    His argument is really based nationality .very intelligent person
    I always proud for this nation leader

  22. Sir,

    He was perfect in in beginning, later he used objectionable language. In case of kanhaiya Kumar, he said NANGA KAR KE CHODUNGA. This is not BJP of AB Vajpayee. You can say same thing with different words and more effectively. H has been rewarded as Diirector in ONGC. A surgeon in ONGC. Instated, he should have been better position in party itself.

  23. What nonsense you don’t have anything to write. Why do we want to know about sambit there are many serious issues you should deal with it

  24. Atleast He speaks the truth for BJP and PM Narendra Modi Unlike the lies of Surjewala the Chamcha,liar and faithful Dog of Rahul Khan Gandhi.we Indians are unfortunate that we have inherited the wrong legacy of the khan Gandhi Dynasty without anyone questioning their sincerety towards Hindustan.

  25. I am told sometimes psychiatrists themselves become psychic due to long association with their patients,but not other doctors.This is a very strange &rarest of rare cases

  26. After reading this topic it is realised that SAMBIT PATRA is really a talented, brave and patriotic person of New Bharat. Only Intolerance. ………….. Now a days Anti-national elements doing more hyper activity and disturbing country’ s stability on the eve of forthcoming election, 2019.

  27. Its quite shameful to take comments from a upa spokesperson thereby revealing the intent of the author. Also the fact that mr. Patra has been taken as a subject of ridicile by the author reveals her prejudice for the lead spokesperson of the UPA and reitertaes the later. Patraji has risen by leaps and bounds and his success is clearly a dent in the eye od the author.

  28. I Think This Article is Biased. Mr. Patra likes to call a Spade a Spade. He does not beat around the bush. He gives answers to the questions asked. And all the quotes about Increase in the population of Muslims and Shabnam that have been mentioned here are facts.

  29. (I had posted this comment at around 1PM yesterday, 22 December. But since the earliest comment in this string published here is from 3.40PM same day, I thought there has been some technical problem with comments posted before that, so am posting it again. But if my comment has been found unsuitable for whatever reason, it’s perfectly okay with me. In that case kindly ignore this mail.)

    I am thoroughly anti-BJP myself (especially of the present Modi-Shah edition of it), but not as anti-Samvit Patra as this author seems to be. I have watched him in many TV debates, and I can say with a fair amount of fair-mindedness that he doesn’t deserve to be censored as single-mindedly as the author has done. The quotes that are quoted here must be his worst, the kind of quotes we all are vulnerable to produce in extreme agitation. Rahul ko jutey maro, and masjid ko Vishnu ka naam de doonga etc. are not the “norms” for Samvit Patra.

    It’s a given fact that ALL Hindutva guys, their most articulate leaders, spokespersons like Samvit Patra or the dumbest foot soldiers, they all have a hermetically sealed thought process — no light, no fresh air can ever sneak into it. They keep re-churning, re-gurgitating prejudices. That’s why they can never score in a logical, balance-headed debate. Even in such situations I have seen Samvit Patra carry himself with a reasonable amount of dignity. In fact of all the Hindutva brigade I have seen only Seshadari Chari who comes across as more acceptable (or respectable) than Patra.

    But these quoted texts must be real for sure. The bitterness or rudeness that has now started becoming evident in Samvit Patra’s discourse reflects not so much his basic nature as his exasperation — a kind of unaccepted defeat, a kind of unspoken admission that the cause of Narendra Modi government has now become indefensible. I do not know if we should censor Samvit Patra for that or sympathize with him.

  30. This article has no substance, from start to end this article is just a reflection of author’s personal animosity against Sambit Patra. You have nothing to write about Congress spokesperson like Ragini Nayak who on national television abused Guarav Bhatia, or Sanjay Nirupam who called Smriti Irani nachne waali, but your hatred against BJP and loyalty towards Congress compels you to write such trash only. It’s a reflection on your biased nature and not your journalistic capabilities.

  31. The media must do its job honestly and in an unbiased, objective and neutral way which obviously the author has not. The problem is that the print and electronic media channels do not think the viewers and readers of this country are intelligent enough to interpret things as they happen rather clearly and take their own decisions about the affairs of the nation. There is no need to poison the ears and minds of the audiences, unless you represent vested party interests. Theprint.in should remember that if it judges others, the others would judge it too. The Law of Karma is both a cause and effect.

  32. Wat else can u expect from the Print
    We see how he conducts himself in the debates and how do others misbehave
    This hit piece on Sambit is hopefully going to make him more famous
    I love the guy,his words n comments resonates with the people that’s why every body wants to hear him
    A gentleman and a surgeon on topnofn that, i want future politicians to be such educated and have the guts n skill to not being cowed down by the Muslim goondas that r called on the TV
    I love the guy n more power to him

  33. Sambit Patra is exploiting the basic instinct of humans or audiences who thrive on drama. Violence. Hatred. His thoughts are our thoughts. We hear,see and like him because he is a representative of our violent self. We the great Indian Middle class who are his audience- have a streak of him hidden inside. Society was always a dangerous place to live. But the danger hd a cover. This govt has flipped away the cover and here we are- Exposed.
    Patra will change his stance tomorrow once he is out of power but People who are appreciating mr sambit patra are ignorant enough not to realise that their sons and daughters are imbibing his vitriol and hatred and ‘modi is baap’ etc . If they end up like his screen image is, they will miss so much out of life.

  34. Sambit Patra is doing his job. No spokesperson of other parties are very sober or lesser shrill. Priyanka chaturvedi is the same, or some BSP or CPI spokesperson, the author of this article is a chamchas/ chamchi of Congress and that shows in this article… I know after all these debates these spokespersons go together for a cup of coffee or whisky. This kind of articles are always written by some anti Modi lobby. Stupid article.

  35. doctored video???!!! huh print delhi police ne 1200 page chargesheet file ki hai u go on taling about facts then how the hell do u know the kanhaiya video is doctored????

  36. Speak against Hinduism – Secular
    Speak against Gita, Hindu mythology – Secular
    Draw cartoons on Hindu Gods/Goddesses – Secular
    Draw vulgar Images of Bharat Maa – Secular

    etc etc etc

    If I write a bit more I will be branded as a saffron terr0r1st and a Bhakt with no sense of how I should train my tongue !!!!

  37. If you really want to bash BJP…… Try criticizing their policies, that will reap more dividends….. Rather than critizing sambit who is a divisive figure whom your readers will always hate and BJP supporters won’t connect with ur articles.

  38. Sambit is doing a great job. Looters and scamsters were having a field day. He and his party have give an aggressive voice to the millions who are honest and simple folk who by enlarge prefer to remain silent. No harm done with the theatrics and melodrama he brings in. After all exposing the corrupt should also be fun so others take a cue or two.

  39. Dear author, while writing an essay about Sambit,you have lost the plot. Why do you want to know about his family?What business is do you have to know that? You ought to stay objective & counter his narrative with pointed & incisive rebuttals.You have let your bitterness get embedded in your narrative which ends up reading nasty against a person to prove that he is nasty? To prove that he is horrible/loud/acid on tongue you did not have to be a clone of Sambit.
    It looks as if you have something personal against him. A journalist has to present the case/dissect it, but you have passed judgement full of adjectives?Left nothing for the reader to think about.You ought to raise questions,objections & arguments for the reader to ponder but you have presented one way narrative presuming that the reader has to take what you have offered. May I tell you have helped Sambit with your heavily biased article where the language is below par. Civility,decency & politeness is the crown of written word as much as it is for spoken word.

  40. This idiots call themselves journalists….hahahaha
    Not journalists u all at print are presstitutes…without any ethics and morals.

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