Veteran Odisha leader Damodar Rout passes away

Bhubaneswar: Senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader and former minister Damodar Rout passed away at a private hospital here on Friday.

Rout was admitted to the hospital after he suffered a cardiac arrest on March 18.

President Droupadi Murmu, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and other senior leaders cutting across party lines expressed their condolences on the demise of Rout.

“Saddened by the demise of veteran leader Shri Damodar Rout who served as minister several times in Odisha Government. Shri Rout’s contribution to the progress of Odisha and the country will always be remembered. My deepest condolences to his family members and followers,” President Murmu posted on her X.

Expressing his condolences, Chief Minister Patnaik said: “I am saddened learning about the death of Senior leader of BJD and former minister Damodar Rout. This is an irreparable loss in Odisha politics. His work for the service and development of people will always be remembered.”

The 81-year-old veteran leader, a veterinary doctor, was first time elected to the Odisha Assembly from the Ersama constituency of Jagatsinghpur district on Janata Dal ticket in 1977.

He won the seat five times between 1977 and 2004. He later contested from the Paradeep constituency and won the seat twice in 2009 and 2014 on the BJD ticket.

Rout also held several portfolios as minister during his 50-year-long political career.

He was a minister in Naveen Patnaik’s cabinet four times and was also considered a close associate of former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik.

However, Rout was expelled from the BJD on September 12, 2018, over allegations of anti-party activities. He was embroiled in several controversies for his comments on the Brahmin community and Anganwadi workers.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik revoked the expulsion order against Rout in January 2024.

IANS

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