BJD leaders seek MLA's ouster over 'anti-party' activities

A growing resentment against Paradip MLA Damodar Rout surfaced Tuesday with a section of BJD workers charging him with "anti-party" activities before Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who promised to look into their allegations.

Rout, on his part, denied the allegations and said Patnaik, who is also the BJD president, was aware of his activities and that the people of his constituency backed him.

BJD MLA Prashant Muduli, who visited Naveen Niwas here in the morning along with party's Jagatsinghpur district president Bishnu Das and other workers, accused Rout of making anti-party statements and hobnobbing with Congress and BJP leaders in the area.

Acknowledging the receipt of complaints, the chief minister said he would look into the allegations.

"A number of party workers have approached me with their complaints against Rout. I have promised to look into the matter," he told reporters outside his residence here.

Both Muduli and Das claimed that Rout invited BJP and Congress leaders to a recently held rally at Erasama in Jagatsinghpur, causing embarrassment to the BJD workers.

Alleging that Rout's activities would weaken the ruling BJD and benefit political opponents in the area, Das said the Paradip MLA should be ousted from the party.

Rout, a seven-time MLA, invited the wrath of his party leaders after he hinted at irregularities in state government's projects during his interactions with the media.

Hitting back at the workers who sought disciplinary action against him, Rout said he had been taken to task on earlier occasions and not much can be done anymore.

Patnaik had sacked Rout from his ministry last year for his derogatory remarks against the Brahmin community.

"What more action can be taken against me?" the 75-year-old leader asked.

The four-time minister, once a confidant of former chief minister Biju Patnaik, has not been able to complete any of his terms due to various reasons.

Meanwhile, veteran politician Baijayant Panda has extended his support to Rout.

Panda, who resigned from the BJD in May following his suspension from the party, told reporters that a similar campaign was launched, last year, in which people were tutored to level allegations against him.

Describing Rout as a very senior leader, Panda told reporters, "The whole exercise resembles a kangaroo court ... It is not good for democracy and the state.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)