Bande Utkala or Bande Odisha row: Damodar Rout ridicules minister Sushant Singh

Bhubaneswar: ‘Replace Utkal with Odisha’ -remark of Labour Minister Sushant Singh that has already stirred a controversy didn’t go down well with senior ruling-BJD leader Damodar Rout who ridiculed the minister for making such a statement and levelled some serious allegations.

Rout said that Singh lacks basic knowledge and his remark on ‘Bande Utkala Janani’ is a clear indication that he wants to divide Odisha. “Utkala doesn’t symbolise only Cuttack, Puri and Balasore. Without knowing the history, one shouldn’t make such comments. The song was written prior to Independence and later it was unanimously passed in the State Assembly to make it the State song,” Rout said.


“Singh doesn’t have any political credentials and he won election only due to the popularity of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Besides, he was one among those hiding in Hotel Swosti during May 29-coup plot orchestrated by Payari Mohan Mohapatra to dethrone the CM,” he alleged.

The former minister further said, “I am not against the concerned minister (Singh) or the State government, but the people in power must abide by the Constitution and use their words carefully.”

On being asked whether Singh intentionally stirred controversy with some vested interests, Rout denied to comment saying that he doesn’t have any idea and said everyone must work for the interest of the people of the State.

On the other hand, when BJD vice-president Prasanna Acharya was asked about Rout’s comments on Singh, he said “Damodar Rout is like my elder brother and in the same way Sushant Singh is my younger brother and I don’t want to comment on anybody.”

Earlier, Bargarh MP Prabhas Singh and activists of Western Odisha Yuva Morcha had lent support to Singh.