Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 16: 

BJD Vice President Damodar Rout and three BJD MLAs from Cuttack — Debashish Samantaray, Pravat Biswal and Pratap Jena – today met Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik separately in his Secretariat office.

damodar rout

While Samantaray and Biswal refused to make any statement after the visit and avoided questions from reporters, Biju Janata Dal Spokesperson Pratap Jena said that it could be about issues pertaining to their constituencies.

“I have no information about their meeting today. However, Debashish and Pravat had informed me earlier that they are planning to call on the Chief Minister. They were planning to discuss some of the issues pertaining to their constituencies. There is nothing political here,” he added.

As per sources, the Chief Minister met Excise and Cooperation Minister Damodar Rout after meeting these three MLAs separately.

“I met the Chief Minister for two minutes today and have passed him on my message,” said Rout speaking to reporters informally after the meeting.

Quite uncharacteristically, Rout refused to entertain any further questions from reporters and did not go into the details of the “message”.

Political analysts, however, pointed out that the meeting could have been connected to the ‘ghost’ remark and Cuttack politics in the aftermath of CMC bypoll loss.

Speaking informally to reporters on June 14, Rout had taken on the three Cuttack MLAs and had said, “Biju babu brought me to politics. I have been associated with Cuttack politics since ages. I brought these men (Debashish Samantaray, Pravat Biswal and Pratap Jena) to politics. Now, they are asking me to keep off. It hurts to see the way things are going there.”

He further took on his archrival Bishnu Das connecting dots to another incident and called – Debashish Samantaray, Pratap Jena and Bishnu Das – “ghosts”. Later, he took a u-turn and alleged that his statement had been misinterpreted as we reported here.