Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 18:
Senior BJD leader and former Odisha minister Kalindi Charan Behera passed away at a private hospital here this morning. He was 71.
Behera was suffering from septicemia and died of multi organ failure at about 7.30 am this morning, his nephew Parthasarathi Behera said.
His body was taken to his Nayapalli residence here before being taken to his native village in Salepur for cremation in the afternoon, he said.
As news of Behera’s death spread, leaders of political parties, friends, well wishers and followers arrived at the hospital for a last glimpse of the departed leader.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was among the dignitaries who visited his residence here and paid homage to the departed leader.
“He had enormous experience of administration and organisational matters. In his death, the state lost an experience politician,” he said expressing deep condolences and praying for his soul to rest in peace.
Behera was elected to the Assembly five times, the first time as a Janata Party candidate from Salepur constituency in 1977. He went on to win from the same seat three times more: as a Janata Dal candidate in 1990 and as BJD candidate in 2000 and 2004. In 2009, he was fielded by the party from the Cuttack Sadar constituency while his son Chandrasarathi was given the ticket for his old constituency.
The veteran leader, however, had been sulking since being denied the BJD ticket in the 2014 Assembly elections on the grounds of ‘old age’.
Behera had held several important portfolios in the council of ministers, first under the late Biju Patnaik and then under his son Naveen Patnaik.
Behera, who was a professor before taking the plunge into politics, was also a writer of repute and took a keen interest in socio-cultural affairs.