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Odisha CM’s Slated Meet With Dharmendra Pradhan On Paradip IOCL Issue Raises Damodar Rout’s Eyebrows


17 August 2017

Soumya Ranjan Sahoo


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Bhubaneswar: As Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is on his four-day New Delhi tour and as per his official itinerary he is slated to hold discussion with Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday (August 18) at Odisha Bhawan there over the Paradip IOCL dispute, the CM’s senior cabinet colleague Damodar Rout on Thursday expressed resentment stating protocol and stressed CM could have summoned Pradhan for discussion instead.

Talking to media ruling BJD vice-president and Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout outpoured, “It’s of course my personal opinion that hon’ble Chief Minister’s programme slated in New Delhi for discussion with Dharmendra Babu isn’t right. Because, the MoU inked by Odisha Government with IOCL is a public undertaking. It was not done by Dharmendra Pradhan. The Chief Minister should have summoned the IOCL authority.”

“After summoning the IOCL authority, the CM would have warned of the breach of the conditions laid down in the agreement. IOCL is resorting to rampant environmental pollution. Not providing job opportunity to locals. Hence, we’re withdrawing our tax moratorium granted to it.”

The veteran BJD leader also burst, “Dharmendra Pradhan is pocketing ‘chanda’ (booty) from IOCL, what steps will he take in this matter? However, there is a protocol. The CM could have summoned him instead to discuss the issue as Dharmendra Pradhan is a Union Minister of State.”

Reacting to it, Odisha BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan commented, “Instead of giving his precious piece of advice in public through media, he (Damodar Rout) would have better given to the Chief Minister in person practically. It’s now evident that either the CM doesn’t pay heed to him or Dama Babu is resorting to publicity stunt. This fact need to be disclosed before the people of Odisha. It’s uncalled-for from a veteran leader like his stature stooping to slugfest. The caustic comments he has made should be prove by him or else he should retire from political life.”

Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati remarked, “BJD and BJP were together for nine long years. Naveen Babu is yet to shed off his love for BJP. It implies wrestling in Odisha, hugging in Delhi. There at Delhi embracing each other while in Odisha pretending to be at loggerhead. The people here now have realised it.”

“On this IOCL issue, Naveen Babu could have talked to the Prime Minister directly. There is no justification of breaking protocol and discussing the issue with Dharmendra Babu. Naveen Babu is clinching a bond with Dharmendra Babu as the latter is looking after BJP’s Odisha political affairs and has been pouncing down on BJD here. Whatever Dama Babu has said is absolutely true. He is an experienced man,” the Congress leader defended Damodar Rout.

On the contrary, BJD spokesperson Sameer Dash countered, “The Chief Minister’s priority is to safeguard State’s interest. Odisha Bhawan is an office of the State Government well-known to all. Hence, Dharmendra Pradhan is coming to that office of the State and the CM will hold talks on the IOCL. Neither protocol has been breached nor the meeting should be taken otherwise.”

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Damodar Rout, Minister, Agriculture, Odisha

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Prithviraj Harichandan, General Secretary, BJP, Odisha

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Tara Prasad Bahinipati, Congress Chief Whip, Odisha

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Sameer Dash, Spokesperson, BJD