Former Governor of Assam and three-time Chief Minister of Odisha, Janaki Ballabh Patnaik passed away at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh in the wee hours today.
Patnaik, a veteran Congress leader, eminent litterateur and journalist, was 89 years old and is survived by his wife Jayanti Patnaik, son Pruthvi Ballav Patnaik and two daughters – Sudatta Patnaik and Supriya Patnaik.
He was in the temple town to attend the convocation ceremony of the Rashtriya Sanskrit University. He had to be admitted to hospital after he complained of a chest pain late at night.
The body of the late leader will be brought to Bhubaneswar by a special flight in the afternoon for cremation at Swargadwara in Puri.
Odisha Governor SC Jamir and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik condoled the death of Patnaik while the state government announced holiday today as a mark of respect to the departed leader.
A week-long state mourning was also declared, officials said, adding that the chief minister dropped his programme on the auspicious Akshaya Tritiya scheduled for the day.
A multi-faceted personality known for his rich contribution towards literature and culture, Janaki Ballabh Patnaik was born on January 3, 1927.
After completing early education at Khurda High School, Patnaik passed BA in Sanskrit from the Utkal University in 1947 and did MA in Political Science from the Banaras Hindu University in 1949. Later, he became President of the Orissa state unit of the Congress youth wing. In 1980, he became the Union Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation and Labour.
He was Chief Minister of Odisha from 1980 to 1989 and again from 1995 to 1999. He was also the Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly from 2004 to 2009.
Later, he was appointed as governor of Assam in 2009.
May his soul rest in peace!