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Dama says BJD is likely to win Bijepur by election, but will not return…

SUBRAT DAS

Bhubaneswar, 19/10: Veteran politician Dr Damodar Rout, who had recently quit BJP, today said that the ruling Biju Janata Dal is likely to win the bypoll to the Bijepur assembly constituency, scheduled to be held on Monday.

In an exclusive interview today, Dr Rout said, “Normally candidates of ruling party use to win by elections. In the entire history of democratic governance, only  the five bypolls fought between 1985 and 1990 in Odisha were won by the opposition party led by Biju Patnaik. And here at Bijepur, it’s apparently visible that Biju Janata Dal candidate will win the byelection”.

Dr Rout, whose political career spans over  a period of four and half decades, had served as a minister for six times. In 2018, he was dropped from the Naveen Patnaik government for his controversial remarks against Brahmins and later he was expelled from the party. Earlier this year, he had joined BJP on the eve of the general elections.

On October 16, the veteran resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party and announced that he would stay away from electoral politics. When told that his critics dub him as an “opportunistic politician” because he had remained in Biju Janata Dal as long as he was made a minister and jumped into BJP for his political utility, Damodar reacted angrily, “ My critics are rather opportunists. They don’t have any political ethics. Basically, they are in politics to earn money, enjoy power and probably they consider me as a hindrance in achieving their basic objective”.

Asked as to why did he quit the BJP, Dr Rout quipped, “ I felt suffocated with the style of functioning of the party. BJP claims that it is a cadre-based party. Therefore,  probably BJP state leadership wanted that I should work under the guidance of panchayat prabharis and mandal presidents. It was not congenial to me after spending four and a half decade in state politics. Besides, I felt unwanted in BJP’s organizational activities or decision-making process”.

Why BJP is not becoming successful in Odisha despite a strong Modi wave across the country ? Dr Rout said,” Odisha’s tradition, culture and political behaviour does not match with the ideology of BJP. Therefore, the so-called cadre system, electoral policy and decision-making do not suit the sentiments of Odisha’s people.  The state BJP is entirely dependent on their national leaders”.

Do you intend to come back to BJD and accept the leadership of Naveen Patnaik as you  recently described him as a nice person while you were talking to media? “No”, he replied to the question. “A media friend asked for my message for the ensuing birthday of Naveen Patnaik. I said-Naveen Babu is a nice man. People of Odisha have made him the chief minister for the last 20 years. Let the God bless him and he should enjoy a long life to serve the people”.said Dr Rout.

“It’s human courtesy, not a motive to flatter some body to join his party”, he said pointing out that he had not quit the BJD and was expelled by the party.

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