Bhubaneswar: Former Odisha Chief Minister and ex-Assam Governor Janaki Ballabh Patnaik passed away in Tirupati early today. He was 89.
The veteran Congress leader was admitted to a hospital in the temple town following a chest pain around mid-night but could not be saved, his family said.
Patnaik, a three-time Odisha chief minister, was in Tirupati to attend the convocation ceremony of the Rashtriya Sanskrit University.
Odisha Governor S C Jamir and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik condoled the death of Patnaik while the state government announced holiday today as a mark of respect to the departed leader.
A week-long state mourning was also declared, officials said, adding that the chief minister dropped his programme on the auspicious ‘Aksyaya Tritiya' scheduled for the day. Patnaik's body was being brought here and the last rites would be performed in Puri.
A multi-faceted personality known for his rich contribution towards literature and culture, Patnaik was born on January 3, 1927.
The Congress stalwart became chief minister in 1980 and continued in the high office till 1989. He bounced back to power in 1995 and remained CM till 1999. Patnaik was appointed the Governor of Assam in 2009.
Earlier, he was also a minister at the Centre. After completing early education at Khurda High School, Patnaik passed BA in Sanskrit from the Utkal University in 1947 and did MA in Political Science from the Banaras Hindu University in 1949.
A pall of gloom descended in Congress circles with senior leaders including former chief minister Hemanand Biswal, leader of opposition in Odisha Assembly Narasimha Mishra and former Union Minister Bhakta Charan Das mourning his death.