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Pradeep Singh

New Delhi/Bhubaneswar: After months of speculations, senior leader and former BJD Minister Damodar Rout today joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the party headquarters in New Delhi.

Rout, who was expelled from the BJD in September last year after he brought a slew of corruption allegations against the ruling-BJD government in Odisha, joined the saffron party in presence of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, party national vice-president Baijayant 'Jay' Panda, Odisha in-charge Arun Singh and Legislative Party Leader KV Singh Deo.

"After a lot of mental exercise, I joined the BJP today. Late Biju Patnaik had brought me to politics and his sole agenda was to work for the people but things changed after his demise and Naveen Patnaik became the chief minister. He (the current Odisha CM) has no love and affection for the people of Odisha. His government is dipped in corruption. It's the duty of a minister to curb corruption but even after repeated complaints, Naveen didn't take any action against the corrupt people and continued supporting them," said Rout.

“Biju babu had once sold his 'kotha' (property) for the people of Odish but the present government and its leaders are dipped in corruption and their sole motive is to make money,” said Rout.

He further said that the good governance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leadership quality of party's national president Amit Shah forced him to join the BJP.

After Rout joined the BJP, Dharmendra Pradhan said, "A loyalist and a leader who truly follows the ideologies of legendry leader Biju babu has today joined BJP. I welcome him to the party."

Jay Panda also welcomed Rout to the party and tweeted: "Welcome to BJP Dr. Damodar Rout! Your decades with Biju uncle & long yrs in his cabinet & also his son's, did not aid you agnst harrassment when you exposed corruption at highest levels last yr & were expelled from BJD. Look fwd to working together for Odisha's revival."

The switch may hurt the BJD in Odisha ahead of the general elections as the saffron party workers are already upbeat after senior leader Baijayant Panda joined the BJP.

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