BHUBANESWAR: Head of Gajapati dynasty and former Parliamentarian, Paralakhemundi Maharaj Gopinath Gajapati Narayan Deo, died in the early hours of Friday, following prolonged illness. He was 76.
The Gajapati was in coma for the last two and a half years. A spokesperson of Apollo Hospital where Gajapati was undergoing treatment said he was admitted to the hospital here on January 6, 2017 with multiple ailments including diabetes mellitus, hypertension, ischemic stroke and parkinsonism.
He was under treatment by a multidisciplinary team of senior doctors including cardiology, neurology, critical care, gastroenterology and endocrinology led by senior cardiologist Dr BR Das. He was at Apollo Hospital for almost three years and recovered from several bouts of deterioration in health during his stay. However, after a long fight he succumbed to his illness at 4.01 am on Friday. Odisha Government had in 2017 announced that it would bear all expenses of his treatment.
The body of Gajapati was taken to Paralakhemundi where it was consigned to flames with State honours. As the news of his death spread, people started visiting the palace at Parlakhemundi to pay their last respects.
At Lanjipalli by-pass near Berhampur, many persons including BJD MLA Bikram Panda paid their last respects to the departed soul. Minister for Forest and Environment Bikram Keshari Arukha attended the funeral on behalf of the Chief Minister.
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Assembly Speaker Surya Narayan Patro, Berhampur MP Chandra Sekhar Sahu, BJP MLA from Parlakhemundi K Narayan Rao and hundreds belonging to different walks of life attended the funeral.
Deo is survived by daughter Kalyani Gajapati. Kalyani, who unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Assembly elections from Paralakhemundi segment, was coronated as Gajapati. She is the first woman Gajapati in the history of the dynasty.
Earlier, expressing profound grief at the passing away of Gajapati, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said Deo’s death is a great loss for Odisha. He conveyed his deep sympathy for the bereaved family. Assembly Speaker, leader of the Opposition Pradipta Nayak, leader of the Congress Legislature Party Narasingh Mishra, former MP Baijayant Panda and several senior leaders cutting across party lines condoled his death.
Puri Gajapati Dibyasingh Deb, who is a nephew of Deo, hailed him as a “man who had made valuable contributions towards Odisha’s progress and development”.