25 December 2017
Bhubaneswar: As both belong to the ‘Biju legacy’ since the inception of their political career, never hesitate to claim themselves as ‘Biju loyalists’ and also have a very good personal rapport despite being poles apart from the party point of view, the recent bitter experience with Damodar Rout and Bijoy Mohapatra raises curiosity if both the veterans would now opt for traversing further miles hand in hand at ease.
Notably, senior BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra recently gave a warm hug to senior BJD MLA Damodar Rout at a meeting in the port town of Paradip (under Rout’s assembly segment). The meeting had been arranged to celebrate Rout’s 76th birthday the very next day of his birthday.
Such a queer scene was witnessed when Rout’s wings had not been clipped by Naveen. Gracing the occasion, Bijoy Mohaptra had applauded Damodar Rout. Mohapatra had reportedly said in his address that the political history of Odisha cannot be written minus Damodar Rout.
Also at the meeting in Paradip, former Odisha Finance Minister and yet another Biju loyalist Panchanan Kanungo was also present on the dais.
Notably, the three were cabinet colleagues during the chief ministership of Biju Babu in 1990s. Damodar Rout and Bijoy Mohapatra also played a major role like Dilip Ray (also in BJP now) to float BJD after Biju Babu’s death.
In his media reactions after the Paradip function, Bijoy Mohapatra had said that both have a political association of 40 years and it is a golden opportunity and privilege to greet him (Dama Babu) on the occasion. There is nothing political in this social gesture, Mohapatra had furher claimed.
Even Damodar Rout in his media reactions had also said that so far social relation is concerned, political relation can never be stumbling block. He had even claimed that the meeting had not been arranged by him, rather by his well-wishers.
While BJD supremo and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has recently dismissed Damodar Rout from the Council of Ministers followed by sacking him from all party posts except his MLAship, Kendrapada district BJP unit has recently recommended for its senior party leader Bijoy Mohapatra’s expulsion. Even State BJP president has much earlier written to the saffron party’s high command strongly recommending Mohapatra’s elimination from BJP.