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Naveen dropped 44 ministers in 17 years

 Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has dropped as many as 44 ministers during his 17 years in office, party sources said.

During the period, only two ministers had resigned while six of the 44 sacked ministers were able to make a comeback.

They were Debi Prasad Mishra, Damodar Rout, Bijayshree Routray and Rabinarayan Nanda, Pratap Jena and Pradeep Maharathy, the sources said.

The latest ouster took place yesterday when Patnaik sacked Agriculture Minister Damodar Rout on charges of making derogatory remarks against the Brahmin community.

This was the third ouster for Rout. On two earlier occasions, the strongman from Paradip was able to pull off a comeback.

During the Biju Janata Dal's first term from 2000-04, Patnaik had sacked six ministers. They included Kamala Das, Prashant Nanda, Nalinikant Mohanty, Amar Prasad Satpathy, Debi Prasad Mishra and AP Singh.

"The then Finance Minister Ramakrishna Patnaik, though not removed, faced a change of his portfolio. Subsequently, Ramakrushna resigned from the ministry and was sacked from the party," a BJD leader said.

In his second tenure from 2004-09, Patnaik took disciplinary action against 14 ministers for their anti-party activities.

Patnaik, during his third term from 2009-14, took major action following the alleged coup bid by late Rajya Sabha MP Pyarimohan Mohapatra in May 2012. Mohapatra had allegedly planned a coup, which was foiled by Patnaik supporters.

Several legislators and ministers including Prafulla Ghadei, Prafulla Samal, Pratap Jena, Pushpendra Singhdeo and Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak were the victim of Patnaik’s fury for their connection with Pyarimohan Mohapatra.

"However, Pushpendra Singhdeo and Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak managed to win Patnaik’s heart and they were inducted in the ministry after 2014 Assembly elections. Later, Prafulla Samal and Pratap Jena also made a comeback to the ministry," the BJD leader said.

In the ongoing fourth term of the BJD government (2014 -19). Patnaik removed health minister Atanu Sabyasachi from the ministry over a fire incident in a private hospital where about 25 patients were killed in October 2016.

In the subsequent reshuffle in the ministry, eight more ministers were asked to tender their resignations and work for the party. Of the eight persons, only Pradip Kumar Amat was appointed as the Speaker of the House.

While announcing Rout's removal from the ministry yesterday, Patnaik said: "I strongly disapprove of anyone who makes derogatory remarks against any caste, creed or religion.”


Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.


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