Former Lok Sabha speaker Rabi Ray no more

Bhubaneswar: Former Lok Sabha speaker Rabi Ray passed away on Monday following prolonged illness at SCB medical college and hospital in Cuttack.

The 91-year old leader was suffering from pneumonia, said the sources.

Ray had been ailing due to age-related problems besides suffering from dementia since last four years.

The Gandhian, and veteran politician was admitted to SCB after his health condition deteriorated on February 12.

The first Lok Sabha speaker from Odisha had been staying at his Kalyani Nagar residence in the city before he was admitted to the hospital.

He was considered close to former chief minister Biju Patnaik. Born on 26 November 1926 in Bhanagarh village in Puri district, Ray joined national politics due to the inspirational leadership of Dr Rammanohar Lohia.

Ray was elected to the 4th Lok Sabha from Puri constituency in Odisha in 1967.

Prime Minister Morarji Desai inducted Ray into his Cabinet as Minister for Health and Family Welfare in January 197. Ray continued in that post until January 1980.

In 1989, he was re-elected to the 9th Lok Sabha from the Kendrapara constituency in Odisha as a Janata Dal candidate. On 19 December 1989, he was unanimously elected as the Speaker of the 9th Lok Sabha. In 1991, he was re-elected to the 10th Lok Sabha from the same constituency.