Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Feb 12:

The first Lok Sabha Speaker from Odisha, Gandhian and veteran politician Rabi Ray has been admitted to SCB Medical College and Hospital here after his health condition deteriorated.

According to reports, the 91-year-old Ray has been admitted to the medicine ward of the premier tertiary care government-run facility with pulmonary ailments.

The nonagenarian was hospitalized after he complained of dyspnea.

He had been staying at his Kalyani Nagar residence in the city. He had been ailing due to age-related problems besides suffering from dementia since last four years as we had reported here.

He was considered close to former chief minister Biju Patnaik. Born on 26 November 1926 in Bhanagarh village in Puri district, Ray joined national politics due to the inspirational leadership of Dr Rammanohar Lohia.

Prime Minister Morarji Desai inducted Ray into his Cabinet as Minister for Health and Family Welfare in January 1979 and the latter continued in that post till January 1980.

The General Elections to the Ninth Lok Sabha were held in 1989 and he returned to the Lok Sabha on the Janata Dal ticket from the Kendrapara constituency. On 19 December 1989, he was unanimously elected as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha as the first leader from Odisha to occupy the exalted post.

He graduated in History from Ravenshaw College and later studied Law in Madhusudan Law College, Cuttack. The foundation of his future political career was laid when he was elected President of the Ravenshaw College Students’ Union in 1948-49 and as the first President of the Madhusudan Law College Students’ Union in 1949-50.

Ray was deeply drawn towards the freedom struggle. In early 1947, while continuing his graduation, he courted arrest in connection with the unfurling of the national flag.