Patnaik axes three ministers ahead of reshuffle

Patnaik axes three ministers ahead of reshuffle

Patnaik told reporters that he is inducting five new faces in his conuncil of ministers. He, however, did not name them.

The ministers who were asked to submit their papers were Damodar Rout, Pravin Chandra Bhanjadeo and Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha.

While Rout had confirmed the development Monday itself, Bhanjadeo and Bariha Tuesday said they have also resigned on the chief minister's instruction.

The three ministers said they did not know why they were asked to quit. Rout was holding cabinet charge of the department of agriculture, cooperation, fisheries and animal resources development.

"He (chief minister) told me to resign, I resigned. It is his prerogative to decide who will be his ministers," Rout told reporters, adding he was not aware of the reason why he was asked to quit.

Rout was facing criticism for the past several months for his allegedly objectionable remarks against some public representatives and officials at a public meeting last year in his home district Jagatsinghpur.

Although he had apologised immediately after the incident, critics were demanding his resignation.

Rout faced more trouble when a police complaint was lodged against him by an organisation over his alleged remarks.

Rout, a six-time legislator, recently obtained a bail from the Orissa High Court to evade possible arrest.

He was also involved in a verbal duel over some issues recently with Pyari Mohan Mahapatra, a Rajya Sabha member of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) considered to be the chief advisor of the chief minister.

Bhanjadeo was holding the department of sports and youth services as minister of state.
Similarly Bariha was cabinet minister of scheduled caste and Scheduled tribe development as well as minorities and backward classes welfare.