The Weekend Leader - Former Odisha chief minister J.B. Patnaik dead

Former Odisha chief minister J.B. Patnaik dead



Three-time Odisha chief minister and former Assam governor Janaki Ballabh Patnaik died at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday, a family member said here. He was 89.

Patnaik passed away at a private hospital at 3 a.m.

He had arrived at Tirupati on Monday to attend the convocation of Tirupati Rashtriya Sanskrit University as the chief guest. He was the university's chancellor.

Patnaik, a veteran Congress leader, is survived by his wife Jayanti Patnaik, son Pruthvi Ballav Patnaik and two daughters -- Sudatta Patnaik and Supriya Patnaik.

His body would be brought to Bhubaneswar by a special flight later on Tuesday and his last rites would be performed at Puri a day later.

"He suffered from chest pain late night and shifted to a local private hospital where he took his last breath at 3 a.m.", Patnaik's son-in-law Soumya Ranjan Patnaik told IANS.

Born on January 3, 1927 at Rameswar village in Khordha district, Patnaik was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1971 and became a deputy minister of defence in the Indira Gandhi-led government.

He was elected to Lok Sabha for the second time in 1980 and became the minister for tourism and civil aviation and labour.

He was the chief minister of Odisha for two terms - from 1980 to 1989 and from 1995 to 1999 and was also the leader of opposition in Odisha assembly from 2004 to 2009.

He was later appointed as the Assam governor in 2009 and completed his term last year.

Patnaik started his career as a journalist before joining politics.

He was also a Sanskrit scholar and authored several books.

As a mark of respect, the Odisha government on Tuesday announced a state holiday and a seven-day state mourning.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Governor S.C. Jamir, several ministers and many political leaders expressed their condolence.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled Patnaik's death, saying the latter would be remembered as a "pillar of Odisha politics".

"Shri J.B. Patnaik's contribution to Odisha's development will always be remembered. Saddened on his demise. Condolences to his family," Modi said in a statement.

"Shri Patnaik will be remembered as a pillar of Odisha politics, a popular leader always connected with people's views and aspirations," the prime minister added. - IANS