Odisha: Veteran BJD leader Damodar Rout, 83, passes away; condolences pour in

Rout was elected MLA five times from Ersama and twice from Paradip

BHUBANESWAR: Veteran Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader and former Odisha minister Dr Damodar Rout passed away here at a private hospital on Friday morning. He was 83.

According to Rout's son Sambit Routray, his father breathed his last at 5:23 am.

Rout’s body was first taken to his government residence at Unit-6 in Bhubaneswar where his well-wishers paid their last respect to the leader. Later, the body was taken to Odisha Legislative Assembly premises where Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, ministers and MLAs paid their last respect to the departed soul.

From the Assembly, the body of Rout was taken to Paradip and Erasama, two assembly constituencies in Jagatsinghpur district which he represented for seven terms.

Family members informed that the seven-time MLA suffered a cardiac arrest on March 18. He was immediately rushed to Capital Hospital and was later shifted to a private hospital in Bhubaneswar.

In 1977, Damodar Rout was first elected as MLA on Janata Dal ticket from Balikuda-Ersama constituency. He became MLA for the second time by winning the elections in 1980 from Janata Dal Secular. However, the senior leader was defeated in 1995. He then went on to win the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th Assembly elections in 2000, 2004, 2009 and 2014.

Rout was elected MLA five times from Ersama and twice from Paradip. He also held portfolios as minister of at least 12 departments under late Chief Minister Biju Patnaik and CM Naveen Patnaik’s term. From 1979 till 2017, Rout was entrusted with departments like information and public relations, community development & social welfare, panchayati raj, women and child development, culture, agriculture, fisheries & animal resource development, health & family welfare, excise and public enterprise in the Odisha government.

He was expelled from BJD in 2017 and later contested the 2019 elections from Paradip on BJP ticket and lost.

Several leaders cutting across political lines expressed their grief over the demise of the veteran leader of the state.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Governor Raghubar Das, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan, BJP national vice president Baijayant Jay Panda and many other leaders condoled the death of Rout.

The mortal remains of Rout will be consigned to flames at Swargadwar, Puri on Friday evening, family members informed.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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