Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday dismissed agriculture minister Damodar Rout from the ministry for making certain derogatory remarks against Brahmins.
“I strongly disapprove of anyone who makes derogatory remarks against any caste, creed or religion. I have dismissed Dr Damodar Rout from the ministry. A letter has been sent this evening to the Governor to accept this dismissal,” the Chief Minister told mediapersons in the evening.
On December 18, Rout while addressing a public gathering at Malyabanta Utsav in Malkangiri stoked a controversy by stating that Brahmins beg for alms but tribals never beg. Organisations fighting for Brahmin interests like Odisha Vedic Brahman Parishad and Mukta Mandap Brahman Mahasabha strongly protested against it and demanded apology from him. Rout had said his version was misinterpreted.
Rout, known for his gift of the gab, has on earlier occasions embarrassed the Naveen Patnaik government by making controversial statements. He has also found himself in trouble after shooting from his mouth. He had even disputed Naveen’s statement that Jayee Rajguru was the first freedom fighter of Odisha.
In August, 2010, Rout was booked for using the word ‘Harijan’ to describe dalits at a public rally in Jagatsinghpur, his home district. Recently, he had apologized after commenting on the marital status of a woman BJP leader.