Bhubaneswar: Odisha Health Minister Naba Das who died today after being shot at by a police officer in Brajrajnagar in Jharsuguda district, was an indomitable figure in Odisha politics especially in the western region of the State. He, before switching to BJD from Congress, could keep winning assembly poll despite the steady decimation of the Congress in Odisha.
- Das, a rival-turned confidante of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik succumbed to bullet injuries after being shot by a police officer deployed for his security on Sunday.
- A law graduate, Das was in politics since his college days and was elected as the Students’ Union president at Gangadhar Meher College at Sambalpur, one of the oldest colleges in western Odisha.
- He later became vice-president of Odisha NSUI and Odisha Youth Congress before becoming a member of OPCC. His rise was steady – AICC member and one of the working presidents of the OPCC – over the last two decades.
- The minister is believed to have been one of the richest members of Naveen Patnaik’s cabinet and had properties worth Rs 34 crore according to a property statement filed in 2022. Besides huge real estate holdings, the politician is believed to have had about 80 vehicles.
- Das won his first state election from Jharsuguda in 2009 on a Congress ticket by defeating BJD candidate Kishore Kumar Mohanty. He was again elected from Jharsuguda in 2014 by defeating Mohanty. However, 5 years later he decided that he needed to jump to BJD.
- Das had taken oath as a minister of health and family welfare on May 29, 2019, continued in the same portfolio even when the chief minister came up with an overhaul of his cabinet last June.
- As the Health Minister, Das had played a key role in managing Covid pandemic in the State.
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