Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 21:
Veteran Congress leader, eminent litterateur and journalist and three-time Chief Minister of Odisha Janaki Ballav Patnaik passed away at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh in the wee hours today.
He was 89 and is survived by his wife Jayanti, son Pruthvi and daughters Sudatta and Supriya.
Patnaik had arrived at Tirupati yesterday to attend the convocation of Tirupati Rashtriya Sanskruta University, of which he was the Chancellor, as the chief guest.
Late in the night, he felt severe pain in the chest and was admitted to Sai Venkateswar Institute of Medical Sciences, a private hospital, where he passed away at about 4 am.
His mortal remains would be flown to the state capital here in the afternoon. The cremation will take place at Swargadwar in Puri tomorrow, family sources said.
Born on January 3, 1927 at Rameswar village in Khordha district, Patnaik was the Chief Minister of Odisha for two consecutive terms from 1980 to 1989 and then again from 1995 to 1999.
He was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1971 and became a union minister in the Indira Gandhi government. He was the minister for Civil Aviation when he was chosen by Indira to become Chief Minister of Odisha in 1980.
He was appointed the Governor of Assam in 2009 and was among the few Governors appointed by the UPA government, who were allowed to complete their full term by the NDA government led by Narendra Modi government.
Besides his political career, JB was also an eminent litterateur and won many literary awards. He won the Central Sahitya Akademi for his Odia translation of Bankim Chandra’s novels titled ‘Bankim Chandra Upanyasmala’ in 2001 and the Odisha Sahitya Akademi award for his book ‘Bairagya Shataka’, a translation of Bhartruhari’s celebrated Sanskrit work, in 1996.
He also translated the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and the Shrimad Bhagabat Gita into Odia, all fo which were highly acclaimed works. His other works were Sindhu Upatyaka and Gautam Buddha.
Leaders of all political parties in the state have expressed profound grief over the sad demise of the Patnaik.
As a mark of respect, the Odisha government today announced a state holiday today and a seven-day state mourning.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who was scheduled to attend the Akshaya Trutiya in Puri, has cancelled his programme following the death of Patnaik.