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Naveen rules out Cabinet reshuffle buzz after Damodar Rout’s ouster

Damodar Rout

Bhubaneswar: A day after ouster of Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout from the council of ministers, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today ruled out any possibility of cabinet reshuffle.

“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 yesterday 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 had all along been in the news for his controversial remarks, the latest 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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