SAMBALPUR: Veteran Congress leader and former State Revenue Minister Sriballav Panigrahi passed away following prolonged illness in Bengaluru on Thursday morning. He was 74 and is survived by wife Sunanda and sons Rajashri and Priyadarshi.
On Friday, the body of Panigrahi would be brought to Bhubaneswar where it will be kept in the Congress Bhawan for the party members to pay their last respect. The mortal remains will then be brought to Sambalpur where they would be consigned to flames.
Born in a freedom fighter’s family at Bargaon in the district on September 2, 1940, Panigrahi had joined politics as a student. He became the president of district Congress committee in 1967 when he was just 27-year-old.
He was elected to the State Assembly twice in 1971 and 1974 from Sambalpur Assembly constituency and became a Cabinet minister at the age of 33 years. During his stint as minister till 1977, he handled portfolios of Revenue, Irrigation and Power, Law, Education, Parliamentary Affairs, Food and Civil Supplies and Commerce.
He was elected to Lok Sabha from Deogarh Parliamentary constituency in 1984, 1991 and 1996. He had played a vital role in setting up MCL in Sambalpur besides the Sambalpur railway division.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, ministers and senior leaders, cutting across partylines, condoled the death of Panigrahi. In a message, the Chief Minister said Panigrahi had played an important role in development of the State as a minister, MP and MLA. Describing Panigrahi as a visionary, Leader of the Opposition Narsingh Mishra said he was an active as well as amiable parliamentarian and hard working organiser.
School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra, Minister of State for Food Supply and Consumer Welfare Sanjay Dasburma, Minister of State for Law Arun Kumar Sahu, Minister of State for Tourism Ashok Panda, president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Prasad Harichandan, former OPCC president Niranjan Patnaik, MPs and MLAs expressed their condolence.
Condoling the death of Panigrahi, Sambalpur MP Nagendra Pradhan said he was an outstanding parliamentarian. Jharsuguda MLA Naba Kishore Das said the death of Panigrahi has left a void in Congress politics.