Bhubaneswar: Former BJD veteran and Paradip MLA Damodar Rout on Thursday joined the BJP in New Delhi giving a boost to the party in Odisha where it is looking to improve its tally in the upcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
He joined the saffron party in the presence of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, party national vice-president Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, party legislature leader KV Singh Deo and party Odisha in-charge Arun Singh.
The seven-time MLA was first sacked from the State Council of Ministers and as BJD vice president in December 2017 for his remarks against the Brahmin community at a function in Malkangiri.
He was expelled from the BJD in September last year by party president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for making allegations of financial irregularities in some State government departments.
Since his removal from the party, he had launched a campaign against the ruling BJD. He had recently met BJP leader in New Delhi triggering speculation that he may join the saffron party.
Interestingly, Rout had once commented that the BJP symbol Lotus would not bloom in the saline water of seaside Paradip. Now he has revised his remark, saying lotus can now be seen blooming in the area under his leadership.
The loudmouth leader also said that he was not lobbying for tickets for his son Sambit Rout and daughter Pritinanda Routray who are in BJD now. Sambit is BJD ticket aspirant for Paradip Assembly constituency.
Lok Sabha and Assembly polls will be held in Odisha in four phases starting April 11. Former BJD MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda also joined BJP on March 3.