Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: In what could be the stepping stone of a new political equation in Odisha ahead of the general elections, expelled BJD leader and former minister Damodar Rout was seen at the Congress camp today.

Rout along with leaders of several political outfits was seen attending the ‘Sambidhan Banchao' conference at Congress Bhawan here in Bhubaneswar.

Apart from Rout, CPM leader Janardan Pati and Samajwadi Party’s Rabi Behera were also seen at the event.

The presence of Rout has certainly sparked speculation over formation of a new alliance against the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

After finalising its first set of candidates, the Congress made it amply clear that it is now shifting its focus to forge a non-BJD & non-BJP alliance by reaching out to other smaller regional parties through its ‘Sambidhan Banchao' conference.

However, Dama Rout denied claims of joining Congress. He further made it clear that he will not join any political party.

“There could be an alliance but today’s event has nothing to do with it. Though I am keen on forming a new party, I do not have adequate funds now,” said Rout.

Odisha Congress President, Niranjan Patnaik stated that “What people think or speculate is immaterial. We had organised the workshop to discuss important issues with several political leaders.”