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Rabi Ray, former Lok Sabha Speaker, passes away

BHUBANESWAR, 08/12/2007: Former Parliament Speaker, Rabi Ray is in a media conference against Posco project in Bhubaneswar on December 8, 2007. Photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty   | Photo Credit: Ashoke Chakrabarty

Eminent socialist leader, former Union Minister and former Speaker of Lok Sabha Rabi Ray passed away after a prolonged illness on Monday afternoon, while undergoing treatment at the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. He was 91 and is survived by wife Dr. Saraswati Swain.

Hundreds of people rushed to the hospital and later to his Kalyan Nagar residence in Cuttack to pay their last respects to the departed soul. Many also joined in the procession when his body was taken to his alma maters Ravenshaw University and M.S. Law College. Family sources said the mortal remains of the popular leader shall be consigned to flames at his native village near Puri.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and State Governor S.C. Jamir, along with several other leaders across the country, expressed their deep-felt condolences on the sad demise of the socialist leader, who was loved and respected by leaders cutting across party lines.

Born on November 26, 1926 in Puri district, Rabi Ray obtained his B.A. degree from Ravenshaw College and LLB degree from the M.S. Law College in Cuttack city. His political career began from here when he became President of Students’ Union of both these famous institutions in late 1940s.

Founded Socialist Party

Love for the country and deep-rooted patriotism drove him to participate in unfurling the tricolour on the majestic building of Ravenshaw College early in 1947, for which he courted arrest and went to jail as a student. Inspired by Rammohan Lohia, he founded the Socialist Party in Odisha in 1956, and later went on to become the National Secretary of the party in 1960.

He was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1967, from the Puri parliamentary constituency, and was the leader of the Samyukta Socialist Party in the Lok Sabha. In 1974, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from the State, and was made a Cabinet Minister in 1977 by the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai, when Ray was functioning as one of the secretaries of the Janata Party.

However, in 1989, when Rabi Ray was elected to the 9th Lok Sabha on a Janata Dal ticket from the Kendrapara constituency, amid political uncertainty, he was unanimously elected as the Speaker to preside over one of the most tumultuous Houses as the Lok Sabha had witnessed hung Parliament for the first time.

Besides his notable political contributions, Rabi Ray was also actively associated with several socio-cultural organisations, including the Lohia Academy and the Gram Vikash Foundation, till he was indisposed due to old age. A true socialist by nature, he has also contributed immensely to the field of literature.


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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 9:03:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/rabi-ray-former-lok-sabha-speaker-passes-away/article17418688.ece

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