Maheswar Mohanty: A Tribute to a Stalwart of Odisha Politics
Maheswar Mohanty, a veteran leader of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and a former Speaker of the Odisha Legislative Assembly, passed away at the age of 67. His death, which occurred in a private hospital in Bhubaneswar, marked the end of a remarkable political career that spanned over three decades.
Born and educated in Odisha, Maheswar Mohanty pursued a career in law, earning his LLB from Utkal University and an MA in Political Science from Banaras Hindu University. This academic foundation laid the groundwork for his later foray into politics.
Mohanty’s political journey commenced in 1975 when he was elected as a councillor in the Puri municipality. His dedication and commitment to public service quickly became evident, leading to his appointment as the chairman of the civic body from 1985 to 1990.
In 1995, he secured a significant victory by being elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Puri, a position he held for five consecutive terms. His impressive track record was only broken in 2019 when he narrowly lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Jayanti Sarangi. Despite this political setback, Maheswar Mohanty remained an active and influential figure in the BJD, particularly in the Puri district.
From May 2004 to March 2008, Maheswar Mohanty held the prestigious position of Speaker of the Odisha Legislative Assembly. During his tenure, he earned a reputation for ensuring the smooth functioning of the assembly and upholding the principles of democracy.
In 2012, he was appointed as a minister in Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s cabinet. Over the years, Mohanty managed several crucial portfolios, including law, revenue, panchayat raj, and planning and coordination. His contributions to the state’s development and governance were highly regarded and appreciated.
The setback in the 2019 elections did not deter Mohanty. He continued to be an active and influential leader in the BJD, making significant contributions to the development of Puri and demonstrating exceptional organizational skills.
The news of Maheswar Mohanty’s passing was met with deep grief and condolences from political leaders across party lines. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed his sorrow at the loss of a popular leader with exceptional organizational skills.
Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Chhatisgarh Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan, and national BJP Vice-President Baijayant Panda were among the many who paid their respects to the late leader.
Maheswar Mohanty’s legacy in Odisha’s political history is undeniable. His dedication, resilience, and significant contributions will be remembered as an integral part of the state’s political landscape. His absence will undoubtedly be felt in the political arena of Odisha, leaving behind a lasting impact on the people and the state’s development.