Ex-MP Rudra Madhav Ray passes away

Bhubaneswar: Senior BJP leader and former Lok Sabha MP from Kandhamal, Rudra Madhav Ray passed away at a private hospital here on Tuesday morning. He was 80.

Family sources said Ray breathed his last after battling a prolonged illness.

The octogenarian, who had won the Kandhamal Lok Sabha seat on BJD ticket in 2009, unsuccessfully contested the 2014 election from BJP.

Ray was suspended from BJD for anti-party activities during the 2014 polls after he was denied party ticket to seek reelection. It was alleged that Ray had supported Congress candidate Harihar Karan.

BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik had nominated former Congress leader Hemendra Singh of Nayagarh as his party’s candidate for the LS seat. After the announcement of Singh’s name, Ray had organised several meetings of his followers in different parts of Kandhamal to pressurize the party leadership to reconsider its decision in his favour. Singh won the polls by a margin of 1,81,017 votes.

Ray was again in news for questioning the citizenship of Pratyusha Rajeswari Singh, wife of late Hemendra Singh. Pratyusha was elected to Lok Sabha in the September 2014 by-election, which was necessitated after the death of her husband. She won the polls by defeating Ray by 2,98,868 votes.

Challenging her election, Ray had said she did not qualify to be a parliamentarian as she was a Nepalese citizen and had not obtained Indian citizenship.