BHUBANESWAR: Senior Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra passed away at a private hospital in Gurgaon on Sunday evening.
He was 52. Mohapatra, a three-time MLA from Puri’s Brahmagiri and a long-time chief of State Congress’ youth wing, was admitted to Gurgaon’s Medanta Hospital for the last few weeks. The end came at about 10.30 pm. His younger brother Lalitendu Mohapatra officially announced the former MLA’s demise.
A hugely popular leader among the youth, Mohapatra was elected from Brahmagiri Assembly constituency in 1995, 2000 and 2004.
As a young leader with a wide base across all regions of the State, Mohapatra was known for his organisational skills. Considered very close to former chief minister and Congress veteran JB Patnaik, Mohapatra was able to make a mark in the State’s politics because of his popularity among the students and youths.
Mohapatra was appointed as a working president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) in 2009 when KP Singhdeo was the OPCC president. He also worked in several capacities in the party during the tenure of different OPCC presidents and was instrumental in consolidating the party’s base in different areas.
An alumni of BJB College, he served as joint secretary of State National Students Union of India (NSUI) in 1983 before being elevated as its president in 1987 which he served till 1996.
He is survived by his wife and daughter.
Political leaders cutting across party lines condoled the death of Mohapatra. Describing Mohapatra as an able organiser, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik conveyed his deep sympathy to the bereaved family.
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan expressed his grief over the untimely demise of Mohapatra. “I had known Lulubhai since student days and always shared a good personal relationship with him. His passing away is a huge loss for Odisha political arena besides being a personal loss,” he said.
AICC general secretary BK Hariprasad, OPCC president Prasad Harichandan, Leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra, former Union minister Srikant Jena, former OPCC presidents Niranjan Patnaik and Jaydev Jena, MP Baijayant Panda, several ministers including Sanjay Dasburma and leaders cutting across party lines condoled his death.