Former Odisha Minister Damodar Rout Passes Away

Bhubaneswar: Dr Damodar Rout, a veteran political leader and former minister of Odisha, passed away while undergoing treatment at a private hospital here on early Friday morning. He was 81.

His wife Snehalata predeceased him in 2019. He is survived by his MLA son Sambit Routray and daughter Pritinanda Routray, who is an accomplished singer and corporator of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.

On March 18, Damodar, who was ailing for some time, was admitted at state-run Capital Hospital here following a heart attack. He was later shifted to a private hospital in a ‘brain dead’ condition, which, going by his son Sambit, happened due to neglect in treatment at Capital Hospital. The hospital authorities, however,  subsequently rubbished this allegation.

A seven-time legislator (five times from Ersama and twice from Paradeep), Damodar was a minister on multiple occasions between 1977, when he made his debut as an MLA, and 2017 in governments led by Nilamani Routray, Biju Patnaik and Naveen Patnaik. In different stints, he held the portfolios of panchayati raj, women and child development, fisheries and animal husbandry, culture, planning and coordination, excise and agriculture.

Known for his gift of the gab, Damodar was among the most prominent leaders mentored by the legendary Biju Patnaik and did not shy away from verbal duels and stoking controversies. He quit his job as a veterinary doctor in the government and took the political plunge in the 1970s. He was in the Janata Dal for over two decades and subsequently joined the Biju Janata Dal (BJD). However on being expelled from the BJD for alleged anti-party activities in 2017, he formed his own political outfit, Biju Samatakranti Dal, along with former Union minister Brajakishore Tripathy. The party didn’t take off and Damodar contested the 2019 assembly elections from Balikuda on a BJP ticket, only to finish third. His journey with the BJP lasted for a few months and he cooled his heels for about five years before BJD president Naveen Patnaik rescinded his expulsion in January this year.

Governor Raghubar Das, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and people from all walks of life have deeply condoled his demise as a pall of gloom descended on Odisha’s politicosphere.

Family sources said Damodar’s mortal remains will be taken to his Unit 6 residence, BJD office and his constituency place in Jagatsinghpur district.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed.