Senior Congress leader and former Odisha Chief Minister, Hemananda Biswal passed away here at a private hospital on Friday, his daughter Sunita said. He was 82.
Biswal served as Chief Minister of Odisha twice – from December 7, 1989 to March 3, 1990, and from December 6, 1999 to March 5, 2000. The first tribal Chief Minister of the state, he was also Deputy CM from March 15, 1995 to May 9, 1998.
Biswal joined Congress in 1972 and was elected to the Assembly for the first time in 1974 and again re-elected in 1980 to till 2004 from Laikera Assembly segment in Jharsuguda district. He was elected as an MP from Sundergarh in 2009-14.
A six-time MLA, he served as minister of several departments including Home, Industries, Panchayati Raj, General Administration, and Health. He is survived by five daughters – Sabita, Sanjukya, Manjulata, Sunita, and Anita.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and former Congress president Rahul Gandhi condoled his demise.
“Anguished by the passing away of former Odisha CM Shri Hemananda Biswal Ji. He was active in public life for many years and worked extensively among people. In this sad hour, my thoughts are with his family and supporters. Om Shanti,” Modi tweeted.
Expressing his heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Biswal, Gandhi, in a tweet, said, “He was a stalwart of the Congress Party and would be remembered as a great tribal leader.”
Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal and senior leaders from the state, including Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and state Congress President Niranjan Patnaik have expressed grief at the demise of the leader.