Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 7:
Mortal remains of eminent socialist leader, freedom fighter and former Lok Sabha Speaker Rabi Ray were consigned to flames with full state honours at his ancestral village-Bhanragarh in Odisha’s Puri district today.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, JDU president Sharad Yadav, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Das Burma, Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Patsani and Athagarh MLA Ranendra Pratap Swain were among the prominent personalities who attended Ray’s funeral at his village.
Earlier in the day, Governor S C Jamir, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and members of his Council of Ministers, Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, several MPs and MLAs paid floral tributes to the departed leader at Lohia Academy where his body was kept in state.
“I am deeply saddened by Ray’s demise. He was a Gandhian and a great socialist leader. He used to show us path and had a remarkable tenure as the Lok Sabha Speaker. His death is a great loss to Indian politics,” said Nitish Kumar.
Paying floral tributes to Ray, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said it was an end of an era in Indian politics.
Odisha government had declared a one-day state mourning today in honour of the eminent socialist leader. The national flag was lowered to half-mast on all government buildings for the day.
Born on November 26, 1926, Ray joined national politics, inspired by the leadership of socialist leader Rammanohar Lohia.
Ray was elected to the fourth Lok Sabha from the Puri constituency in Odisha in 1967. Prime Minister Morarji Desai inducted Ray into his cabinet as Minister for Health and Family Welfare in January 1979 and Ray continued in that post till January 1980.
In 1989, he was re-elected to the 9th Lok Sabha from the Kendrapara constituency in Odisha as a Janata Dal candidate. On December 19, 1989, he was unanimously elected the Speaker of the 9th Lok Sabha. In 1991, he was re-elected to the 10th Lok Sabha from the same constituency.
He graduated in History from Ravenshaw College and later studied law at Madhusudan Law College, Cuttack.