DAMODAR ROUT, a veteran leader who had joined BJP after decades in the BJD, on Wednesday quit the saffron party saying he did not feel included in the organisation.
Rout, a seven-term MLA from Ersama and Paradip, had served as health and agriculture minister in BJD governments led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. After expulsion from the BJD for alleged anti-party activities, he joined the BJP ahead of the elections to Lok Sabha and Odisha Assembly.
Rout contested the Assembly elections, which he lost. However, his son won his old constituency, Paradip, on a BJD ticket.
On Wednesday, Rout said, “I felt that the BJP does not need me and does not require me to participate in its organisational activities. So I thought of quitting, but I will not join any other political party.”
Odisha BJP in-charge Arun Singh said, “He used to participate regularly in meetings. Every worker should do this without waiting for an invitation. The party belongs to every karyakarta. If people retire then one feels bad, but that will have no impact on the world’s biggest political party. People come and go.”
Rout’s son, MLA Sambit Routray, did not rule out Rout’s return to the BJD. “Developments may come about in six months,” he said.