Bhubaneswar, Mar 6: Today afternoon the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar along with other leaders of Odisha will be paying their homage by attending the last rites of eminent socialist leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Rabi Ray at his ancestral village Bhanragada in Puri. A one-day state mourn is being observed in the state today. The National Flag was flown at half-mast across all government buildings for the day. People from all sections are paying last respect to the departed soul at Lohia Academy here.
Ray breathed his last at the age of 91 while he was being treated at the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack under his wife Dr Saraswati Swain. He was born on Nov 26, 1926 in Puri. He was BA graduate from Ravenshaw College and obtained his LLB degree from MS Law College in Cuttack. His political career began from Cuttack when he became President of students union of both these famous institutions in late 40s. The socialist leader was loved and respected by leaders cutting across party lines. He had so much of patriotism in him that he even unfurled the Tricolor early in 1947 on the Ravenshaw building for which he courted arrest and went to jail as a student. He was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1967 from Puri parliamentary constituency. He became the leader of Samyukta Socialist Party in the Lok Sabha. In 1974, he was elected to Rajya Sabha from the State and was made a cabinet minister in 1977 by the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai. A true socialist by nature, Rabi Ray has also contributed immensely to the field of literature. Ray was actively associated with several sociocultural organisations including Lohia Academy and Gram Vikash Foundation till he was indisposed due to old age.