By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, December 22, 2017: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday dismissed senior leader and agriculture minister Damodar Rout over the latter’s casteist remarks.

Rout in his speech at the Malyabanta Mahotsav in Malkangiri recently drew a comparison between Tribals and Brahmins saying that Adivasis never beg even in any adverse situation while Brahmins beg for alms if the situation so demands.

This remark had sparked severe resentment among the Brahmins, who had demanded an apology from Rout while seeking his sacking by the chief minister.

“I strongly disapprove of anyone who makes derogatory remarks against any caste, creed or religion. I have dismissed Damodar Rout from the council of ministers. A letter has been sent this evening to the Governor to accept this dismissal,” the CM said.

Sacked Odisha Minister Damodar Rout, however, clarified that he was asked to resign which he refused to oblige and was hence dismissed.

“I was at a friend’s get together at Boriki High School when I got a call from principal secretary to the chief minister to put down my papers. I refused to resign. Why should I resign without any reason?
Since the CM has lost his confidence in me, I was dismissed,” said Rout in his unique candid style on his reaction to the development.

Upon being asked, did the chief minister inform him about his dismissal, Damodar Rout said, “He had called me while I was travelling. As the voice was inaudible I told him that I will talk with him after returning to Bhubaneswar.”

Following Damodar Rout’s dismissal from council of ministers, panchayati raj minister Pradeep Maharathy was given additional charge of agriculture, fisheries and animal resources departments while finance minister Shashi Bhusan Behera got additional charge of public enterprises department.

Rout, who always called a spade a spade, earlier had to exit the council of ministers twice for one reason or other.