Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada: When the whole of Rayagada was rejoicing with the Chaiti fervour, Christmas and Atal Bihari Vajpayee birth Anniversary, a very sad news regarding the death of Purushottam stunned all the people of Rayagada. Last Tuesday he participated in the death anniversary of Late Rama Chandra Ulaka at Railway Abhinandan Hall at Rayagada. He then attended the district court where there was a hearing about his validity of his post as Chairman, Zilla Parishad.
As a Congress candidate, he contested as a Zilla Parishad member from Ramanaguda block and won in a thumping majority. Then he won as Chairman of Zilla Parishad in the election held on March 12, 2017 just by one vote. The rival BJD party filed a case in the local court where the elction was declared null & void. He then appealed in the High Court, who directed the lower court to review its decision and ordered to continue him in the same post till the final decision by the district court.
Last Tuesday, The District Judge, Rayagada heard the case and based on the plaintiffs and evidences declared the elction null and void and issued direction to the District Election Officer to conduct fresh election for the post of Chairman, Zilla Parishad.
May be he was little disturbed due to the court decision. While going back at night from Rayagada to Gunupur by motorbike, he lost balance and the motorcycle skid near Tandukana chowk leading to a sever fall down. Afetr the accdent he bled frofused from both of his years. He was rescued by the local villages and taken to Ramanaguda CHC and then to Sub-Divisional Hospital at Gunupur. As the condition still deteriorated, he was referred to a private hospital in Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh, where the doctors declared him dead.
His body was brought to Gunupur town where thousands of empathisers paid homage and the corpse was taken in a procession in the town. The last rites were conducted in his ancestral village named Antarjholi.
“He was very much sociable and a tribal intellectual. Had a flare for culture, language development of the community he belonged”, said Smt Bidulata Huika, Ombudsperson, Rayagada and State Convenor, Odisha Adibasi Manch. “He contested as MLA of Gunupur from Congress and lost with margin of votes both the times during 2014 & 2019. Though he belonged to Ramanaguda, he was a state leader of Congress, which was rising in the area under his leadership. He was so popular that he got elected to the post of ZP Chairperson with votes from ZP members from other parties. He was concerned about the development of the area and was certainly a performer and task master. The loss is irreparable”, said Sri Rabindra Patakhandal, Convenor of Odisha Information Campaign.