Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Mortal remains of former MLA and the queen of Khallikote, V Sugnana Kumari Deo consigned to flames with full state honours at her native place in Ganjam district on Sunday.

The funeral took place at the cremation ground of the royal family following guard of honour in the presence of a large number of people. Many well-wishers, fans, eminent personalities of the locality and politicians were present during her last rites.

As per the ritual of the royal family, a Bramhin youth gave Mukhagni to Deo.

“It’s a great honour for me that the royal family chose me to give ‘mukhagni to ‘Rani Maa’,” he said.

“The queen had worked tirelessly for the development of education and women’s emancipation in Ganjam district. We all are shocked by her sad demise,” said a resident of Khallikote.

Earlier, her mortal remains reached Bhubaneswar from Chennai in a special flight on Saturday evening.

After arrival, her mortal remains were taken to the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) party office (Sankha Bhawan). Several party leaders along with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik paid tributes to Deo.

Later, Deo’s body was taken to the Odisha Assembly where the Speaker and MLAs paid their last respects. Subsequently, the mortal remains were taken to Khallikote.

Thousands of people thronged her residence to have the last darshan of the 10-time MLA. Subsequently, she was taken to the cremation ground in Khallikote in a grand procession.

Deo passed away while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Chennai on Saturday at the age of 87.

Deo was first elected to the Odisha Assembly in 1963 and has won a total of 10 times in her political career from Khallikote and Kabisuryanagar constituencies. She belongs to the royal family of Khallikote. She has a special identity and honour as the queen of Khallikote. She was an eight-time MLA from Khallikote and a two-time MLA from Kabisuryanagar.

Apart from being a politician, Deo has also a special identity as a social worker. She was born in Chennai on August 5, 1937. Her father’s name was King R V M Miladri Deo and her husband was Purnachandra Mardaraj Deo. She was elected as MLA in 1963, 1974, 1977, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2004, 2009 and 2014.

Deo was also a member of various committees of Odisha Legislative Assembly. Though she was a 10-time MLA, she never expressed her desire to be a minister.