A ruling BJD leader and two others died of suspected asphyxiation after a fire broke out in his house in Odisha's Ganjam district on Friday, police said. The three including BJD leader Alekh Choudhury (69), a former President of Berhampur Central Cooperative Bank Ltd, were asleep in the house at Gosaninuagaon, when an air- conditioner caught fire due to an electric short circuit in the early hours, they said.
The victims, trapped inside the smoke-filled house, were rescued and rushed to the MKCG Medical College and Hospital where doctors declared them brought dead, a senior police officer said.
All of them were suspected to have died of asphyxiation as smoke triggered by the fire had engulfed the house, he said.
Apart from Choudhury, the two others were identified as his brother-in-law Bhagaban Patra (85) and caretaker Sunil Behera (19).
The exact reason for the fire will be ascertained after a probe, a fire brigade official said.
Choudhury was also a former president of the Ganjam district Congress committee. He had contested the state assembly elections from Berhampur and Aska thrice but lost.
He had joined BJD before the 2014 elections.