Odisha’s senior-most Cabinet Minister and BJD Vice-President Damodar Rout has once again embarrassed the Governing Party.
While the regional party headed by Naveen Patnaik has been working hard to counter the BJP surge, particularly after the panchayat polls and ahead of the saffron party’s national executive meeting on April 15 and 16, Dr.Rout has put the State Government in trouble.
The BJD which is trying to champion farmers causes, has said that it was seriously contemplating to waive farm loans on farmers.
Chief Minister and BJD President Naveen Patnaik himself also told Media that his Government was examining the proposal of waiving farm loans of farmers.
The BJD President said this aiming to disturb BJP’s plan which was supposed to make announcement in this regard at its National Executive meeting held in State Capital in a gap of 19 years.
BJP has already motivated the people of Uttar Pradesh by Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing loan waiver for farmers.The BJP was all set to make similar announcement in Odisha also.
However, when there is a Damodar Rout, the BJD does not need a BJP.
Dr.Rout was prompt to say that there is no point in waiving loans of farmers as most of them spent farm loan amount either in weeding function in their families or by consuming liquor.
This has sparked a statewide agitation against Rout and also against the State Government.
As the situation turned adverse to BJD, Naveen told reporters that he did not accept Dr.Rout’;s words.
"I do not think that (Rout’s statement) is correct," Naveen said when the Media sought his view on Rout's reported statement in the
The Government, he said, was seriously considering the farm loan waiver issue.
Dr.Rout, the Cooperation Minister, had reportedly said yesterday that many defaulters of farm loans often spend the money on drinking alcohol or for family weddings instead of agricultural activities.
The Minister on the other hand denied that he had told the Media that farmers were buying liquor with their agriculture loans.
"Yesterday I had not said farmers were buying liquor with their agriculture loans. I said that the agriculture loans are misutilized by land owners, not farmers," he clarified.
Dr.Rout said he had in fact been demanding loan provision for sharecroppers and marginal farmers.
His reported statement has sparked a row in the state with BJP State President Basant Panda saying it was an insult to the state and the farming community.
"He (Rout) should tender unconditional apology and withdraw his statement," Mr.Panda said.
Several leaders in the ruling BJD also did not subscribe to Dr.Rout's reported statement.
Yesterday panchayat functionaries of Puri district had urged the Chief Minister to consider the waiver as farmers of Odisha are poor and often hit by natural calamities like floods, droughts and cyclones.
Mr.Patnaik today reviewed BJD's performance in Balsore besides Jagatsinghpur district from where Dr.Rout hails.