Biju Janata Dal MLA PradeepMaharathy died at a private hospital here in the early hoursof Sunday, family sources said.
He was 65.
The seven-time MLA from Pipili in Puri district issurvived by wife Prativa, son Rudra Pratap and daughterPallavi.
Maharathy, who had tested positive for COVID-19 onSeptember 14, was discharged from the hospital after recoverybut was admitted again as his condition became critical. Hewas on ventilator support since Friday.
The Odisha Assembly was adjourned for the day aftermembers observed a minute of silence in memory of Maharathy.
The veteran politician started his career as a studentleader at the SCS College in Puri. He joined the JanataDal in 1985 and was elected to the Assembly from the Pipiliconstituency.
He was arrested under MISA (Maintenance of InternalSecurity Act) during the Emergency.
Popularly known as Natu Bhai, Maharathy had wonsubsequent elections from Pipili. He joined BJD in 2000.
He was inducted in the Naveen Patnaik Cabinet in 2011and held the portfolios of Agriculture, Fisheries, PanchayatiRaj and Drinking Water.
During his tenure as the Agriculture Minister, Odishahad received Krishi Karman Award for four consecutive years.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed deep grief atthe demise of Maharathy and described him as a “stalwart” ofBJD and a long-time associate of Biju Patnaik.
“He was a true leader of people. I extend my deepsympathy to the bereaved family and the people of Pipili,”Patnaik said in a condolence message.
The mortal remains of Maharathy will be cremated withfull state honour, he said.
Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal, Union MinistersDharmendra Pradhan and Pratap Sarangi, and many stateministers condoled Maharathys demise.
“Maharathy was a popular leader and able legislator,his untimely death is a big loss to the polity,” the governorsaid.
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