Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik paid his tributes to former Odisha Speaker and Digapahandi MLA, Surjya Narayan Patro at his Nayapalli residence in Bhubaneswar on Sunday morning. Patnaik expressed his condolences on Patro’s demise and expressed his sympathy to the bereaved family members.

Patro passed away at a private hospital in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. He was 75.

Earlier, several leaders including President Droupadi Murmu, Governor Prof Ganeshi Lal, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Chhattisgarh Governor Bishwabhushan Harichandan, and BJP National Vice-President Baijayant Panda had expressed their condolences on the sad demise of Patro. 

Several people, BJD party workers, political leaders across party lines, and eminent persons from different fields made a beeline at Patro’s residence in Bhubaneswar to have his last ‘darshan’. 

“I know Patro babu since 1984 when I was the SP of Berhampur. We had a family relationship. His demise is an irreparable loss for Odisha. He was very simple and his behaviour was very sweet and soothing. He was a very popular leader. People of his constituency had a strong belief on him,” said former DGP Sanjeev Marik.

Patro’s body was first taken to Sankha Bhawan. Later, a guard of honour was given in Odisha Assembly. After that, it was taken to Berhampur.

 “His last rites will be performed in Digapahandi at 3 pm as per the official protocol,” said Patro’s son Biplab.

As per the last wish of Patro, his family members donated his eyes. A team of doctors removed his eyes after 10 minutes of his death on Saturday. The eyes can be transplanted to a visually-impaired person who will be able to see the light of the world. Earlier, Patro had also donated the eyes of his mothers after her death.

Patro was born on December 24, 1948 at Berhampur in Ganjam. He did his BSc and LLB followed by social service before joining politics. In 1977, Surjya Patro became the Municipal Councillor of Berhampur. 

He won the Assembly elections for seven consecutive terms. He was elected as an MLA for the first time in 1990 from Mohana from where he was elected for four consecutive terms till 2009. He contested and won from the Janata Dal in the first two terms and then won from the same constituency on a BJD ticket. 

Since 2009, Patro has been the MLA of Digapahandi for three consecutive terms. As a minister in the Biju Patnaik and Naveen Patnaik governments, he held various important portfolios. He was the Minister of Forest and Environment, Energy, Tourism, IT, Culture, Revenue, Information and Public Relations, Food Supply and Consumer Welfare.

Patro took over as the Speaker of the Odisha Assembly in 2019 and resigned in 2022.