BJD leaders’ meet fuels talk of move to oust Dama

Bhubaneswar: A meeting at Barabati-Cuttack MLA Debashish Samantray attended by Jagatsignhpur BJD chief Bishnu Das and minister Atanu Nayak and Pranab Prakash Das has sparked off speculation about a move within the ruling party to cut Cooperation and Excise minister Damodar Rout to size.

Though Samantray and Das denied that there was any discussion against the Excise minister at the meeting, Dama-baiter Das, also a former minister, openly informed the media that he would meet the party president to demand Dama’s ouster from the State Cabinet.

“He is always committing acts of indiscipline and criticising the party chief’s decisions in public. So, we will meet party supremo Naveen Patnaik after the PM’s visit and demand action,” Bishnu Das said.

However, he denied any other discussion in today’s meeting at Debasis Samantray’s residence. “We were planning how to make the PM’s programme a success today”, Das added.

A photograph of Energy minister Pranab Prakash Das , Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak with Debasis Samantray coming out of the former’s home has fuelled talks about a move by the anti-Dama group.

Samantray, who was recently in the news for his war of words with the party the vice-president, denied any groupism against the minister.

“My meeting with Bishnu Bhai does not mean that it is an anti-Dama manch. We were discussing other party affairs”, Debasis Samantray said.

On the other hand, Rout said he did not know about any meeting against him.

“I do not know who have met where. When prime minister is visiting my area for a government programme, it’s my responsibility to make programme a success,” Rout said.