Odishatv Bureau

Cuttack: Noted socialist leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Rabi Ray passed away while undergoing treatment at the SCB Medical College and Hospital here this afternoon.

He was 91 and is survived by his wife Prof Saraswati Swain, former Head of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine in SCB Medical College.

Talking to media persons, Dr Bhubanananda Maharana, Emergency Officer of SCB Medical College, informed that apart from pneumonia, Ray had kidney and other age related problems.

“The doctors, despite their valiant efforts could not save the former Parliamentarian who passed at about 3 PM”, he added.

Family sources said Ray was admitted in a private hospital in Bhubaneswar some days back. But after he was diagnosed with pneumonia, he was shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital on February 12 and put in the Out Patient Department (OPD) of the Medicine department. But as he had difficulty in breathing, he was later shifted to the central ICU.

He was under treatment by a special team of doctors.

Born on November 26, 1926 in Bhanagarh village in Puri district, Ray completed his graduation in History from Ravenshaw College and later studied Law in Madhusudan Law College, Cuttack.

Later, deeply influenced by eminent socialist political leader and freedom fighter, Ram Manohar Lohia, he joined politics.

Ray was elected to the 4th Lok Sabha from Puri constituency in Odisha in 1967. In the 4th Lok Sabha, he was the leader of the Parliamentary Group of the Samyukta Socialist Party (SSP). In 1974, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Odisha and completed his term in the Upper House in 1980. He was the Union minister of Health and Family Welfare in Morarji Desai ministry from January 1979 to January 1980.

In 1989, he was re-elected to the 9th Lok Sabha from the Kendrapara constituency as a Janata Dal candidate. On 19 December 1989, he was unanimously elected as the Speaker of the 9th Lok Sabha. In 1991, he was re-elected to the 10th Lok Sabha from the same constituency. Since 1997, he was associated with the Lok Shakti Abhiyan, a non-political organization.

During his stint as the Speaker, Ray had allowed the live telecast of Parliament proceedings for the first time.

Governor SC Jamir, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Petroleum and Natural Gas minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram and several political leaders expressed profound grief over the sad demise of Ray.