BHUBANESWAR: Former minister and senior BJD leader Kalindi Behera passed away following a protracted illness here on Wednesday.
The 71-year-old BJD vice-president was ailing for long and had developed septicaemia. He had been admitted to a private hospital here since the last 15 days. He died of multi-organ failure in the morning. He is survived by wife, two daughters and two sons.
A veteran politician, he was elected to the State Assembly five times and led several departments as minister in different governments from 1977. He was first elected to the Assembly from Salipur constituency as a Janata Party candidate in 1977 and went on to represent the seat for four more terms from 1990 to 2004. The seat, which was considered a family bastion, was represented by his son Chandra Sarathi Behera in 2009 while he was shifted to the neighbouring Cuttack Sadar segment.
Kalindi served as minister in charge of departments like Tourism and Culture, Education, Energy, ST and SC Development, Works and Excise in different stints right from 1979 to 2006. He had, however, been denied ministerial berths in the later years and also deprived of party ticket in 2014 elections.
He was also an accomplished academician and writer having penned several novels, plays and criticisms in his career.
His death has been condoled across party lines. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik termed his demise as ‘a great loss to the State politics and literature’. “He had been an inspiring leader and able administrator,” Naveen said.
The State Assembly condoled the death of Behera and former MLA Dayanidhi Kisan and observed two minutes of silence in their memory. Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra and BJP Legislature party leader Basanta Panda paid tributes to the departed souls.
The funeral rites were performed at his native Salipur in the evening.