Mrunal Manmay Dash

Veteran Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader and former Odisha Minister Damodar Rout passed away at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar on Friday morning. He was 83.

As per reports, Rout breathed his last at 5:23am this morning.

Sources said, his body will be taken to his government residence at Unit-6 in Bhubaneswar where his well wishers will pay their last respect to the leader. 

Family members today informed that the seven-time MLA suffered a cardiac arrest on March 18. He was immediately rushed to Capital Hospital and was later shifted to a private hospital in Bhubaneswar.

On Thursday, Rout’s son Sambit Routray levelled allegations of negligence by Capital Hospital of not providing CPR despite requests. However, the hospital authorities later clarified that CPR was not required during the time when the leader was brought to the hospital.

Following his death, a visibly shaken Sambit said, "I thought his health was improving but. He left us all this morning. This was probably God's will. We are helpless. We will now take his body to his home, then to the party office and later to his Kujang, Paradip and if time permits, we will take him to Ersama as well."

"His health was not good. His health seemed to be improving but he finally gave up. It is a tough day for us. He was synonymous to struggle. He was a good and empathetic man. I am proud to be his daughter," said his daughter at the hospital.   

It was way back in 1977 when Damodar Rout was first elected as MLA on Janata Dal ticket from Balikuda-Ersama constituency. He became MLA for the second time by winning the elections in 1980 from Janata Dal Secular. However, the senior leader was defeated in 1995. He then went on to win the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th Assembly elections in 2000, 2004, 2009 and 2014.

Rout was elected MLA five times from Ersama and twice from Paradip. He also held portfolios as minister of seven departments under late CM Biju Patnaik and CM Naveen Patnaik’s term. From 1979 till 2017, Rout was entrusted with departments like Information & Public Relations, Community Development & Social Welfare, Panchayati Raj, Women and Child Development, Culture, Agriculture, Fisheries & Animal Resource Development, Health & Family Welfare, MSME, Excise and Public Enterprise in Odisha government.

Rout had also worked as House Committe member for Cyclone/Food and Environment between 2000 & 2001.

He was expelled from BJD in 2017 and later contested the 2019 elections from Paradip on BJP ticket and lost.

Several leaders cutting across political lines expressed their grief over the demise of  the veteran leader of the state.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed his grief over his demise. Taking to 'X', he wrote, "I am saddened to learn about the demise of senior BJD leader and former minister Damodar Raut. This is an irreparable loss in Odisha politics. His work for the service and betterment of the people will always be remembered. May his soul rest in peace and my condolences to the bereaved family members."

Taking to X, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan wrote, "I am saddened to hear the news of the demise of former minister and senior leader Damodar Rout. He was active in politics for many years and engaged himself in public welfare work. Odisha has lost an articulate and experienced politician. May his soul rest in peace. My condolences to the bereaved family.."

Following his demise, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National vice president Baijayant Panda wrote, "This is an end of a long chapter of Odisha politics! I am deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing away of senior politician, former minister of Odisha government, longtime MLA, a loyal of Biju Babu, my friend and long-time associate Dr. Damodar Rout. May the departed soul rest in peace. My condolences to the bereaved family."

State BJP president Manmohan Samal and Leader of Opposition (LoP) Jayanarayan Mishra also expressed their grief. Samal prayed to Lord Jagannath for the eternal peace of the departed soul and conveyed his deepest condolences to the bereaved family and friends. 

Senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said, "I am deeply saddened by the demise of Dama Babu. I first met him in 1990. He was a great politician and highly acclaimed MLA. He used to come to the Assembly fully prepared and partcipated in the Assembly sessions. Dama Babu did very good as a Minister as well."


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