Brahmananda Panda, a former Biju Janata Dal (BJD) Lok Sabha member, died on Saturday at his hometown Cuttack in Orissa following a heart attack, family sources said. He was 61.
A prominent criminal lawyer and writer, Panda was a member of 14th Lok Sabha from 2004-2009.
Panda founded Nilachakra, a leading socio-cultural organisation that is engaged in the promotion of Oriya culture.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Governor M.C. Bhandare expressed their deep condolences and said Panda's demise was an irreparable loss for the state.
Health Minister Prasanna Acharya said: "We are in deep grief. He was selflessly working to protect our culture and language."