Ramesh Rout, 39, independent MLA from Orissa’s Athagarh assembly constituency, has been missing since June 19.
The case was curious because, hours before he disappeared, Rout had submitted his resignation from the assembly to the speaker Pradeep Anant. On Sunday, it turned bizarre when a second letter from Rout surfaced, claiming he resigned only because he was pressured to do so.
Rout won his election with the support of the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) after the sitting BJP MLA Ranendra Pratap Swain’s (55) nomination form was rejected by the election returning officer on technical grounds. With the last date for filing nominations over, the BJD had no choice but to pick one of the independents already in the fray to support, or else abandon the seat.
The second letter charged Swain of forcing Rout to resign, so that he could contest a by election and become MLA again. Rout said he was being threatened, and had resigned to save himself and his family!
An embarrassed BJD — of which Swain is a key leader, having also been a minister in an earlier Patnaik government — sought hard not to comment. “”Rout is a member of the assembly. It is the speaker who will decide on his resignation. The BJD has nothing to do with it,” said Damodar Rout, BJD and spokesperson. Speaker Anant said he would examine the matter once he returned to Bhubaneshwar.