Veteran BJD leader and former speaker of Odisha state Assembly Maheswar Mohanty passed away early on Tuesday at a private hospital here. He was 67.
Mohanty was admitted to the private hospital on November 1, following a severe brain stroke. He breathed his last at 3.25 a.m.
The BJD leader represented Puri Assembly constituency as MLA for five times consecutively from 1995 till 2014.
He lost to BJP leader Jayanta Kumar Sarangi in 2019. He made his debut as MLA for the first time in 1995 as a Janata Dal candidate.
Later, he won the Puri Assembly constituency four times from 2000 to 2014 on a BJD ticket. He was the speaker of Odisha Assembly from May 21, 2004 to March 31, 2008.
He joined Naveen Patnaik cabinet as the minister of Panchayati Raj in May 2011. He later also held several other portfolios like Planning & Coordination, Tourism & Culture, Law and Revenue & Disaster Management.
“Maheswar Mohanty had earned a reputation as a popular mass leader. He was famous as an efficient administrator. He played a significant role as MLA and minister in the development of the state. His role in the development of Puri will make him immortal as a leader. As a speaker, he had greatly contributed towards setting high democratic, parliamentary traditions. His death is a big loss to Odisha,” CM Patnaik said in his condolence message.
Mohanty had found himself in the midst of several controversies during his long political career. One lady assistant marshal of Assembly had levelled sexual harassment allegations against him during his tenure as the speaker in 2008.
He had also survived two deadly attacks on him.