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Post Damodar Rout’s Ouster, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik Rejects Reshuffle

23 December 2017

Soumya Ranjan Sahoo

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Bhubaneswar: After divesting senior BJD leader Damodar Rout of his ministerial portfolio on Friday evening, BJD supremo-cum-Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday ruled out any possibility of reshuffle in his incumbent Council of Ministers.

Putting to rest all the speculations over an imminent cabinet reshuffle, the Chief Minister told media, “There’s no plan for a reshuffle yet.”

On the other hand, the Agriculture ministerial berth held by sacked Damodar Rout has been entrusted to Panchayati Raj Minister Pradeep Maharthy.

Notably, Maharathy used to hold the Agriculture portfolio earlier when Naveen Patnaik led Council of Ministers had taken over the charge soon after forming government for the fourth consecutive term in Odisha after the 2014 assembly elections.

In his reactions, Pradeep Maharathy said, “The way hon’ble Chief Minister has reposed trust in me and entrusted me with the Agriculture portfolio, I’ll try to deliver my duties very well. Son of farmer (himself) will now look after the affairs of the farmers.”

“Pressure is obvious because Agriculture Department is a big one. I’ve already the Panchayati Raj portfolio with me. Better to say I have to work harder instead of using the word pressure.”

Notably, BJD vice-president and senior MLA Damodar Rout was dismissed by the Chief Minister from his Council of Ministers following his controversial ‘beggar’ remarks on Brahmins at a function in Malkangiri district on December 19.

The Chief Minister after dismissing him and forwarding the dismissal letter to Governor for approval had on Friday evening disapproved of any ‘derogatory remarks against any caste, creed or religion’.

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Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister, Odisha

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Pradeep Maharathy, Minister, Panchayati Raj, Odisha