The titular head of Odisha’s Gajapati dynasty and former parliamentarian, Gopinath Gajapati Narayan Deo, died on Friday morning at a hospital here, following prolonged illness, family sources said. He was 76. Deo is survived by daughter Kalyani Gajapati, who had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 assembly elections on a BJD ticket from Paralakhemundi constituency.
In his condolence message, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said Deo’s demise was a “great loss” for the state. Official sources said the former MP would be cremated later in the day with full state honours, and forest and environment minister Bikram Keshari Arukha would attend the funeral on behalf of the chief minister.
Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb of Puri, who is a nephew of Deo, hailed him as a “man who had made valuable contributions towards Odisha’s progress and development”. The former parliamentarian had long been suffering from heart-related ailments.
Born on March 6, 1943, Deo had represented the Berhampur parliamentary constituency for two terms as a Congress member. He switched over to the BJP in 1998 and joined the ruling BJD a decade later, in 2009. The Odisha government had in 2017 announced that it would bear all expenses of his treatment.