Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 24:
Senior Biju Janata Dal leader and Excise Minister Damodar Rout continues to face odds inside his party.
After public rifts with Jagatsinghpour President Bishnu Das, MLA Debashish Samantaray and BJD Spokesperson Pratap Deb over various issues, today he locked horns with another senior leader Bed Prakash Agrawal over ‘Biju birth centenary celebrations’.
The incident occurred today after a meeting of BJD that had been held to plan the year-long celebrations across the state. Both leaders sparred over the issue in presence of BJD Vice President Prasanna Acharya, senior leader Surendra Nath Nayak, Jayaram Pangi and Prafulla Samal among others.
Both Rout and Agrawal calmed down only after the intervention of the other leaders present on the scene.
While Agrawal is the convenor of the Biju centenary committee, Rout is a member.
Rout, a Biju Patnaik protégée, has plans to celebrate his birth centenary in Paradip on his own and recently had been at odds with Pratap Deb over the issue. While Deb issued statements saying that Rout’s celebration has nothing to do with BJD, Deb chided him over petty mindedness.
In the meanwhile, BJD Chief and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged BJD leaders indirectly to refrain from politics over the celebrations.
“We in BJD are well aware that Biju Babu is beyond political boundaries. Hence, we should provide a platform for everyone cutting across party lines and other identities to celebrate the ideals of Odisha Swabhiman, Odia identity and take Odisha ahead on the path of empowerment for which he stood,” said Patnaik while inaugurating the logo for the centenary celebrations in Bhubaneswar today.
Notably, on February 24, the party formed five committees for successful celebration of Biju Patnaik’s birth centenary inside the state and beyond for a year starting this March 5. The five committees are Biju Patnaik birth centenary committee, organising committee, coordination committee, souvenir and documentation committee and national and international coordination committee.