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Former Odisha CM J B Patnaik dies

Janaki Ballabh Patnaik

Tirupati: Former Odisha Chief Minister and ex-Assam Governor Janaki Ballabh Patnaik died at a hospital early today following a cardiac arrest, few hours after he offered prayers at Lord Venkateswara temple at Tirumala.

89-year-old Patnaik passed away at Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences in the temple city, its Director and Vice-Chancellor Dr B Vengamma told PTI.

Patnaik had arrived here yesterday to participate in the convocation of Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha and offered prayers at the temple late last night, temple official on special duty, Damodara, said.

Patnaik complained of chest pain at midnight and was immediately shifted to the hospital, Vengamma said, adding, he could not be saved.

He died early today on the auspicious day of ‘Aksyaya Tritiya’, a priest here said.

The Vidyapeetha officials are making arrangements to airlift the body to Odisha. The last rites would be performed in Puri.

Patnaik is a three-time Odisha chief minister.

The Odisha government has announced a holiday today as a mark of respect to the departed leader.

A week-long state mourning was also declared.

A multi-faceted personality known for his rich contribution towards literature and culture, Patnaik was born on January 3, 1927.

He became the chief minister in 1980 and continued in the office till 1989. He returned to power in 1995 and remained the CM till 1999.

Patnaik, a former union cabinet minister, was appointed the Governor of Assam in 2009.

After completing early education at Khurda High School, Patnaik passed BA in Sanskrit from the Utkal University in 1947 and did an MA in Political Science from the Banaras Hindu University in 1949.

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