Odisha’s first tribal chief minister as well as last Congress chief minister of the state, Hemananda Biswal passed away at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar after a brief illness, on Friday
, BhubaneswarDebabrata Mohanty
Odisha’s first tribal chief minister as well as last Congress chief minister of the state, Hemananda Biswal passed away at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar after a brief illness, on Friday. He was 82.
Biswal, a Bhuyan tribal from Jharsuguda district, served as the chief minister twice from 1989 to 1990 and 1999 to 2000. In December 1989, he replaced the then chief minister JB Patnaik, after the Congress(I) was routed in the Lok Sabha elections. In December 1999, he was again made chief minister after erstwhile chief minister Giridhari Gamang was replaced over his failure in relief and rehabilitation measures in the aftermath of 1999 super cyclone that ripped through Odisha coast.
In 2000 assembly polls, the Congress was routed by BJD-BJP combine and the party has never been able to come back to power since then.
Biswal began his political journey as a chairman of Kirimira panchayat samiti in Jharsuguda district. He was elected to the Odisha assembly for the first time in 1974 from Laikera constituency. He was elected to assembly as MLA six times from the same seat. In 2009 he was elected as an MP from Sundargarh.
In 1995, he was made deputy chief minister by JB Patnaik.
Expressing grief, president of state Congress committee, Niranjan Patnaik said Biswal stood for Congress’s ideals throughout his life. “Congress will miss him dearly,” said Patnaik.
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