Odisha: Untimely demise of MLA Bishnu Das, an inordinate loss for Jagatsinghpur

Report by Kahnu Nanda, Jagatsinghpur: Leaders across political spectrum condole the untimely demise of former minister and MLA Bishnu Das who breathed his last at a Bhubaneswar based private hospital at the age of 66 on Monday.

Senior BJD leader and former minister, MP, deputy chairman state planning board, six times MLA, Das who was known for his oratorical skills and carved a place for himself in state assembly and Odisha politics passed away on Monday, the 66 year old was recently diagnosed with brain stroke had admitted to the private hospital on 22 June where he died at 7.50 PM.

Das was a MLA of state assembly five terms from Jagatsinghpur and standing MLA of Tirtol, a member of Rajya Sabha for brief period, former school and mass education minister Odisha in the year 2006-07, occupied deputy chairman state planning board post after he lost assembly poll in the year 2014, mainly known as a student leader who had served president of SVM College students union three times consecutively in mid-seventies.

Bishnu Das in 1989 was first elected as MLA from Jagatsinghpur as Janata Dal candidate, was born in Mukundapur village herein a Dalit family in the year 1954, graduated from SVM College here later completed LLb from M S Law College in Cuttack, practiced law in Jagatsinghpur courts until he settled in politics till 1989.

He was recognized in state and his political carrier took a turn in 1980 following his sincere endeavor when he highlighted the much defamed Chhabirani gang rape case occurred in Biridi that created furor across not only Odisha but in country later defamed Congress government in state led by late J B Patnaik.

Respected across political parties and adored by the media accessibility and forthright response, he always held interest of people close to his heart, a great son of Jagatsinghpur who formed the district In the year 1993 after getting blessing from then then chief minister late Biju Patnaik, Das a Dalit champion dedicated his entire life towards public service and development of downtrodden people.

Das an anti-congress veteran never changed party in his three decades political carrier had been groomed by then Janata Dal leader Bijay Mohapatra till 1999 but after Bijaya Mohapatra axed from BJD, Das maintained quiet and BJD higher-ups did not put him any importance but in the year 2006 then BJD strategist late Pyarimohan Mohapatra recognized him offered a ministerial berth Naveen Patnaik cabinet, Das assumed charge as School and Mass education minister but continued few months forced to resign due his son’s board mark sheet manipulation row.

Political observers opined that since Das axed from cabinet in 2007 he had been sidelined by party but in the year 2009 assembly elections when BJD separated from BJP, Das purportedly develop his political carrier. BJD had given ticket to for Jagatsinghpur assembly seat and along with liberty to choose a candidate for Tirtol assembly segment, Das successfully won his seat and his backed BJD candidate won Tirtol assembly seat but unfortunately Das had denied berth in cabinet, his detractor Damodar Rout offered ministerial post from Jagatsinghpur district.

Das had tested two defeats in his carrier, in the year 1985 assembly elections he was defeated by Congress candidate Kailash Mallick from Jagatsinghpur assembly seat later in the 2014 assembly polls Das was defeated by Chiranjib Biswal by very slander margin that put Das political carrier in to dark.

All as sudden Das had given Rajya Sabha seat in the year 2016 and after eight months had forced to resign and given a post deputy chairman state planning board a teeth less organization in the year 2017.

Das was victimized in the year 2019 assembly elections denied ticket for Jagatsinghpur assembly seat and asked him to go Tirtol reserved seat which had reportedly out of his wish, meanwhile he had been ousted from BJD’s district president post which he had been occupying since 1997.

Das obeyed party instruction and contested from Tirtol assembly seat in 2019 polls won with huge margin and eying for a ministerial berth in Naveen Patnaik cabinet but again ignored, Balikuda- Erasama first timer MLA Raghunandan Das obtained ministerial berth.

While political observers discoursed that Das has no strong political lobby in state, as a senior BJD leader and a true follower of late Biju Babu he has been ignored by coterie groups surrounding BJD head and chief minister Naveen Patnaik until death.

Das had dedicated his life for the poor and strove hard to provide all amenities like drinking water, laying roads, accommodations and he was friend of all barring political identity during calamites as flood, cyclone and natural disaster struck in Jagatsinghpur district. Das untimely death was irreparable loss of Jagatsinghpur will create a vacuum forever.

Das had laid to rest at Swargadwar cremetery in Puri, his only son Bijaya Shankar Das lit fire on pyre, among those present at the funeral site were Ministers Raghunandan Das, Ranendra Pratap Swain, Samir Das, MLA Prashant Muduli, deputy chairman planning board Sanjaya Dasburma and many prominent BJD leaders.