Veteran JD (S) Leader Ashok Das Passes Away

Veteran JD (S) Leader Ashok Das Passes Away
Veteran political leader and a close confidante of legendary Biju Patnaik, Ashok Das died on Tuesday following a brief illness, family sources said.

Das, whose political career spanned nearly four decades, was 65 and is survived by wife, two sons and two daughters. He was elected to the Orissa assembly six times from 1971.

Admitted to a private hospital here on Saturday owing to cardiac problem, he was put on life support system.

A close confidante of the legendary Biju Patnaik and a former President of the Orissa unit of the erstwhle Janata Dal, he was elected to the state assembly six times.

Despite his proximity to Biju Patnaik, even when he was chief minister between 1990-95, Das never occupied any ministerial berth.

Das, who came to the fore as one of the leaders in the famous state-wide students' agitation in 1964 when he was a student at G M College in Sambalpur, joined the movement launched by Jayaprakash Narayan in 1974 and was also imprisoned under the then MISA.

After joining the Swatantra Party in 1971, he subsequently switched over to the Utkal Congress floated by Biju Patnaik when he left the Congress.

During his Janata Dal days, Das was its Working President in the state and became the state unit President in 1991.

After Biju Patnaik's demise in April 1997, Das along with former ministers Bijay Mohapatra and Nalinikanta Mohanty played a key role in charting the political course of the state while in the opposition.
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