Bhubaneswar: Noted politician from Ganjam district and former Finance minister, Ramakrushna Patnaik, died Friday morning at around 9.30 AM at his residence here due to prolonged illness, daughter Anita Subhadarshini informed. He was 81.
The departed leader’s mortal remains will be taken to Swargadwar in Puri where his last rites will be performed. Later, he will be consigned to flames, Anita further stated.
The veteran leader was popularly known as ‘Ganjam Tiger’ as he had bold presence in the region. He was a blue-eyed colleague of former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik.
A pal of gloom descended the state, Ganjam in particular, after news of Ramakrushna’s death. Condolences are pouring in from all sections of the society including political arena.
Condoling Patnaik’s death, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik remembered him as an experienced politician and a good administrator.
“He was an ardent follower of Biju Patnaik and contributed a lot for the overall development of Ganjam district,” the Chief Minister said.
It is pertinent to mention, Ramakrushna was elected to the Legislative Assembly for six times, of which he had won from Kodala constituency in Ganjam on erstwhile Janata Party ticket for four times, including once as a Janata Dal candidate and then from Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in 1971, 1977, 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2000, respectively.
Ramakrushna was appointed as the Health Minister in his first term as MLA in 1971. He was the Leader of Opposition (LoP), in 1998, during the tenure of Janaki Ballabh Patnaik as the Chief Minister.
Subsequently, Ramakrushna was appointed as the state Finance minister from 2000 to 2002, during the first term of Naveen Patnaik as Chief Minister of Odisha.
Ramakrushna quit BJD in 2002 over differences with Chief Minister and party supremo Naveen Patnaik to join the Congress. He and his ex-MP wife quit the Congress party and along with their daughter Anita joined BJP before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.