Odisha: Naveen Patnaik expels Damodar Rout from BJD

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal President Naveen Patnaik today expelled party vice president and former minister Damodar Rout from the party on charge of anti-party activities.

“The Paradip MLA has been expelled from the party by the order of the party president Naveen Patnaik,” BJD secretary Bijay Nayak said in a statement the evening.

The move came a day after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik received complaints against  the senior BJD leader.

A large number of BJD workers met Patnaik at his residence on Tuesday here and petitioned against Rout seeking disciplinary action against the veteran leader.

Rout, a seven-time MLA, invited the wrath of his party leaders after he hinted at irregularities in various state government’s projects and also claimed the party is being run by one officer and three MLAs during his interactions with the media.

The four-time minister is known as a confidant of former chief minister and Naveen’s father Biju Patnaik, had become the MLA for the first time in 1977.

He had been minister in the Naveen Patnaik Cabinet in all the four terms from 2000 till 2017.

The doctor-turned-politician had alleged there were irregularities in sapling plantation, procurement of polythene sheets for OMFED, cooperative bank and health sector in the recent past.

In his reaction, Rout said: “I am not aware about it (expulsion) as no one has informed me yet but I came to know only from TV news reports. As I was removed from the ministry and then party posts without any reason, so I never considered I was in the party in the last eight months.”

When asked about his next move, the veteran leader said: “I will not join any political party but I will keep on fighting for the people and raise my voice against corruption.”

“I am a true follower of Biju babu and came to politics for him. Therefore, I will live and die as the follower of Biju Patnaik only,” Rout, who seemed unfazed with Naveen’s decision, claimed.

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