ONI Bureau: There was a lot of high drama in Baripada today where former BJD leader Dr. Damodar Rout was addressing an anti-corruption rally organised by Mayurbhanj Milita Kriyanusthan Committee. The battle between Dr. Rout and the ruling party took an ugly turn, with both sides attacking each other using harsh words.
It all started when posters of Dama Rout and former BJD MP Baijayant Panda came up across Baripada with a war cry against corruption. Since Baijayant Panda’s name was mentioned in the posters, the ruling BJD did not take it lightly unlike the last 5-6 events addressed by Damodar Rout in the past couple of weeks.
A former Minister and a few ruling party MLAs camped in Baripada to take stock of the situation. The youth brigade was put on stand by mode. The Mayurbhanj Milita Kriyanusthan Committee as well as Dr. Damodar Rout expected a crowd of 15,000. But, only 2,500-3,000 people turned up in the end.
Former OJM leader Jagneswar Babu was present at the stage. However, Baijayant Panda never turned up at the rally. He had also skipped Dama Rout’s Ersama rally a few days ago. As Mr. Panda never officially confirmed about his participation at the Damodar Rout’s rallies, it is believed that he is yet to trust political potential of Dr. Damodar Rout and planning his moves very carefully.
As expected, Dr. Rout lashed out at CM Naveen Patnaik and BJD. He called Naveen a “corrupt” leader accusing him of ditching people of Mayurbhanj. Damodar Rout hit Naveen below the belt questioning his poor Odia accent and even alleged that the CM does not know names of all his party MLAs and is unaware of number of Tehsils in the State.
Damodar Rout also brought serious allegations against CM’s Private Secretary and claimed that the PMO had directed the Chief Secretary of Odisha for a probe, but nothing has been done so far. He also alleged a massive corruption to the tune of Rs 100 crore in the horticulture department.
While Damodar Rout was addressing a rally, a youth along with his supporter climbed to the dais and questioned him about the pending electricity bills of IMFA owned by former MP Baijayant Panda’s family. As situation turned ugly, the youth as evicted and handed over to the police. The youth chanted ‘Naveen Patnaik Zindabad’ while being taken away. Damodar Rout called it an attempt by the ruling party to sabotage his rally.
While responding to the charges, former MP Baijayant Panda said, “‘I am not involved in any irregularities; as polls are nearby, rumours are being spread to tarnish my image”.
Odisha Food Supplies minister Surjya Narayan Patro shrugged off Damodar Rout’s allegations saying people of Odisha don’t trust a person who lacks credibility and just spewing venom after the ouster from the party.
Meanwhile, BJD Spokesperson Dr. Sasmit Patra has responded to the allegations made by Dr. Damodar Rout, saying the former BJD leader has lost his mental stability. “We have sympathy for him and wish him a speedy recovery”, he said. Sasmit also claimed that Damodar Rout is being misused by some vested interests and Baijayant Panda and Dharmendra Pradhan are taking advantage of his allegations.