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Naveen dismisses Damodar Rout from Council of Ministers over beggar remark

Bhubaneswar: In a major jolt to BJD veteran and Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today dismissed him from the Council Of Ministers.

Speaking to media persons, Naveen said, “I strongly disapprove anyone who gives derogatory remarks against any caste, creed and religion” adding that I have dismissed Dr Damodar Rout from the Council of Ministers.

“A letter in this regard has been sent to honourable Governor to accept Rout’s dismissal”, he said.

Notably, Rout had been facing flak from various quarters after he stirred controversy for his beggar remark on Brahmin community.

Known for his off-the-cuff remark, Rout while attending a function in Malkangiri on Monday said tribals never beg even in adverse situation; rather Brahmins beg for alms, if situation arises. The statement has triggered string resentment among the priest communities.

Several outfits including the Odisha Vedic Brahmana Parishad and Mukti Mandap Brahmana Mahasabha staged a demonstration in Puri demanding apology from Damodar. They also burnt effigy of the minister. Some of the outfits also protested in the city and other parts of the state against Damodar’s remarks.

When asked, Damodar refused to apologize stating that he had not made any derogatory or offensive remarks against the Brahmin community.

Stating that his statement was on the basis of our traditions, Damodar alleged a section of media of misinterpreting his views. Stating that he has highest regard for Brahmin community, he also criticized some parties of politicizing the issue.

Earlier, he had also created embarrassment for the state government for his objectionable remarks against anganwadi workers.

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