Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout today dared Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to take him on in the upcoming Odisha Assembly elections. The BJD veteran dared Pradhan while addressing a news conference during the party's district level executive meet in Puri.

After losing election by 25,000 votes, Pradhan fled to Bihar and was elected to Rajya Sabha because of his command over Hindi, said Rout adding, "I dare him to come and  compete with me. I will move to the constituency from where he files nomination. He will not even get votes from the people of his own constituency."

Taking a dig at the petroleum minister, Rout also said Pradhan should win a ward member election first and only then think of becoming a chief minister.

Replying to the agriculture minister's comment, BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra said Pradhan is the first leader from the State who is fighting for the rights of Odias in Delhi.

"Damodar Babu has forgotten what had happened in 1995 when he contested from two places. He needs to be reminded of that. People of Odisha can only decide their fate in the next election. The BJD minister, who has a habit of saying such silly things, can't decide it," added Mohapatra.