Veteran BJD leader Damodar Rout passes away

Bhubaneswar, Mar 22 (UNI) Former Odisha Minister and veteran BJD leader Damodar Rout, who was elected to the Odisha legislative assembly seven times during his over four decades-long political career, passed away at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar here on Friday morning.

Family sources said Rout (83) breathed his last at 5:23 AM this morning while undergoing treatment after he suffered a massive cardiac arrest on the night of March 18.

A close confidant of the late Biju Patnaik, Damodar Rout, was elected to the Odisha Legislative Assembly seven times: five times from Ersama constituency and twice from Paradip constituency.

He was first elected to Odisha Assembly from Ersama constituency on Janata Party ticket in 1977, as Janata (S) Charan Singh candidate in 1980, Janata Dal candidate in 1990, and twice as Biju Janata Dal candidate in 2000 and 2004 Assembly elections.

In the 2009 Assembly elections,he switched over his constituency and was elected twice from the Paradip Assembly seat in the 2009 and 2014 Assembly elections as a Biju Janata Dal candidate.

During his long political career,Rout served both the Biju Patnaik and Naveen Patnaik governments and served as minister in as many as 14 departments from 1979 to 2017.

He had served Panchayati Raj, Women and Child Development,Culture, Agriculture,Fisheries and Animal Husbandry,Health and Family Welfare,Excise, Cooperation, and Public Enterprise as minister.

Rout was expelled from BJD in 2017 for anti-party activities. However, his expulsion was revoked by BJD supremo Naveen Patnik after five years in 2022.

Family sources said his body will be taken to the state assembly from his government residence and then to Sankha Bhawan, the BJD’s party office, to allow his well-wishers and leaders of various political parties to pay their last tribute to the departed soul.

Rout’s son, Sambit Routray, BJD MLA from Paradip, said the body will be taken to Kujang, Paradip, and Ersama as well if time permits for the people of his constituency to pay their tributes.

Political leaders cutting across political lines,well-wishers, and people from various walks of life visited the official residence to pay their tributes to the departed soul and express deep condolences over the demise of the veteran leader of the state.

Taking to ‘X’, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “I am saddened to learn about the demise of senior BJD leader and former minister Damodar Raut.”

Patnaik said his demise is an irreparable loss in Odisha politics. Rout’s work and service for the betterment of the people will always be remembered, the Chief Minister said, and he conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family members.

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