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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: BJD vice-president and former minister Kalindi Behera died at a private hospital today morning. He was 71. Family sources said, Behera was undergoing treatment for Septicemia over past 15 days and the death was caused by multi-organ failure.

He is survived by wife, two daughters and two sons.

Behera, a seasoned politician, was elected to the State Assembly five times and held different portfolios as minister. Born in 1944, he was first elected to the State Assembly on a Janta Dal ticket in 1977 from Salipur Assembly constituency. He was re-elected from the same constituency in 1990.

After joining BJD, Behera was elected twice from Salipur in 2000 and 2004 and from Cuttack Sadar assembly constituency in 2009 when his son Chandra Sarathi was fielded by the party from Salepur. Behera was denied BJD ticket for the 2014 elections.

He served five times as a cabinet minister across different portfolios. Moreover, he was in charge of several key official positions.

Apart from politics, he was well known for his contribution to art and literature. He penned several novels, dramas and critiques. A huge sports fan, Behera was also known for his social service.

After his death news surfaced, condolences poured in from various political figures of the State cutting across party lines.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik expressed grief over the death of Behera while moving a condolence motion in the Assembly today. Patnaik paid floral tributes to the departed leader and said, "All of us are deeply distressed by the sad demise of Kalindi Babu."

Describing Behera as a popular leader, Patnaik said the late leader got elected to the assembly many times and worked ably as minister. The chief minister conveyed deep condolence to the bereaved family.

Among others, Congress stalwart and leader of opposition in assembly, Narasingha Mishra and BJP legislature party leader Basant Panda condoled the demise of Behera describing him as a writer, able politician, social worker and lover of sports and culture.

Leader of Opposition Narshingh Mishra said, “Behera was a very close colleague and his death is a big loss to the State and the Dalit society.”

The state assembly mourned his death with members observing a minute's silence in his honour and paying tributes to the departed leader. The assembly also condoled the death of former MLA Dayanidhi Kissan.

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