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Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik Dismisses Ministry Reshuffle Buzz After Damodar Rout Ouster

Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout was on Friday sacked from the ministry over his alleged derogatory remarks against Brahmin community at a public function in Malkangiri district.

PTI

Updated:December 23, 2017, 5:15 PM IST
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Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik Dismisses Ministry Reshuffle Buzz After Damodar Rout Ouster
File photo of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik (PTI Photo)
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Bhubaneswar: A day after dropping Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout from the council of ministers, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik on Saturday dismissed any possibility of reshuffle in his ministry.

There is no plan for any reshuffle yet, Patnaik told reporters while replying to a question on a possible reshuffle in the ministry.

Rout was on Friday sacked from the ministry over his alleged derogatory remarks against Brahmin community at a public function in Malkangiri district.

Following Rout's sacking, Patnaik has distributed the departments looked after by Rout to other ministers.

While Panchayati Raj Minister Pradeep Maharathy has been given additional charge of agriculture and farmer empowerment, fisheries and animal resources development departments, Finance Minister S B Behera is put in charge of public enterprises department.

In his reaction, Rout said that he was not worried over being dropped from the ministry.

"I was elected by the people to serve them and not to become a minister. I will continue to work for the people as an MLA," Rout said.

Describing the development as "natural", Rout said, "I have been dropped from the ministry as the chief minister lost confidence in me."

He added that it is up to the chief minister to decide whom he will retain or take in the ministry. "Becoming a minister is not anyone's constitutional rights," he said.

Rout, who was dropped from the ministry thrice in the past, also said that people are his "masters".

Rout had all along been in the news for his controversial remarks, the lastest one being on Brahmins. While addressing a public meeting in Malkangiri recently, Rout had said that tribals do not beg even in adverse situation while Brahmins beg for alms if the situation so demands. Rout's remark had sparked severe resentment among the Brahmins, who had demanded an apology from the minister while seeking his sacking.
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