Veteran leader Damodar Rout passes away

Odisha Politics

Bhubaneswar, March 22: Veteran leader Damodar Rout passed away while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar on Friday. He was 81.

The seven-time MLA was suffering from kidney ans lung related ailments.

Notably, on January 1, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) revoked its expulsion order from the senior leader after five years of his expulsion from the party.

A veterinary doctor by profession, Rout joined politics in the 1970s inspired by former Chief Minister and legendary leader Biju Patnaik, the father of current CM Naveen Patnaik.

He was first elected to the Odisha Assembly in 1977 on a Janata Party ticket, then in 1980 as a Janata Party (Secular) nominee, and later in 1990 as Janata Dal candidate.

Rout joined the BJD headed by Naveen Patnaik after it was formed in 1997 following Biju Patnaik’s death. Rout was first elected as a BJD legislator in 2000. He switched his constituency from Balikuda-Ersama to the port town of Paradip in 2009 and registered victory.

Rout served as a Minister in each of Naveen Patnaik’s first four terms and managed as many as 15 different portfolios, including Panchayati Raj, Agriculture, Cooperation, Fishing and Animal Husbandry and Excise over the years.

But Rout also courted a series of controversies during his career, causing embarrassments to Government and CM Naveen Patnaik, for which he faced disciplinary action.

In May 2011, Rout was dropped from the Naveen Patnaik’s Council of Ministers for making casteist remarks against some BJD leaders and a senior district official from Scheduled Caste communities at a meeting in August 2010.

A case was also registered against him at that time. Rout was later reinstated to the Cabinet in 2012.

But in December 2017, he was again nixed from the Cabinet for remarks against the Brahmin community during a meeting at Malkangiri. He was also removed as the BJD vice president by party supreme Naveen Patnaik.

Before his expulsion from the BJD in 2018, Rout had made frequent allegations of financial irregularities in the implementation of Government schemes in the State and also targeted certain bureaucrats.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *