Veteran JD(S) leader Ashok Das passes away | india | Hindustan Times
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Veteran JD(S) leader Ashok Das passes away

Veteran political leader and a close confidante of former Orissa chief minister Biju Patnaik, Ashok Das died on Tuesday following a brief illness.

india Updated: Dec 30, 2008 14:33 IST

Veteran political leader and a close confidante of former Orissa chief minister Biju Patnaik, Ashok Das died on Tuesday following a brief illness.

He was 65 and is survived by wife, two sons and two daughters.

He was admitted to a private hospital in Bhubaneswar on Saturday owing to cardiac problem and was put on life support system, family sources said.

A former president of the Orissa unit of the erstwhile Janata Dal, Das, whose political career spanned nearly four decades, was elected to the state assembly six times from 1971.

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

While a student of the G M College in Sambalpur, Das came to the fore as one of the leaders in the famous statewide students' agitation in 1964. In 1974, he joined the movement launched by Jayaprakash Narayan and was imprisoned under the then MISA.

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

During his Janata Dal days, Das was its state working president and later 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.