The last rites of Pyarimohan Mohapatra, Naveen Patnaik’s adviser who turned his detractor, were performed on Monday at a public crematorium in Bhubaneswar. Mohapatra, who was undergoing cancer treatment in Mumbai’s Hinduja Hospital for the last few days, died at around 9.40pm on Sunday.
A malignant tumour was found in his lung. Soon after the body arrived at Biju Patnaik International Airport from Mumbai in the afternoon, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reached the airport and laid a wreath.
Besides Naveen, Finance Minister Pradip Amat, Industries Minister Debi Prasad Mishra, Higher Education Minister Pradip Panigrahi, Women & Child Welfare Minister Usha Devi, Panchayati Raj & Law Minister Arun Sahu, Energy Minister Pranab Prakash Das, former minister and BJD spokesperson Surya Narayan Patra paid their last respects. Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, who was in Bhubaneswar, said Mohapatra was one of the best bureaucrats the country had ever produced. “Pyarimohan Mohapatra was one of the finest bureaucrats in the country and a good friend of mine,” he said.
Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who had visited the ailing Mohapatra a few times recently, said his death has created a void in Odisha politics which cannot be filled. Mohapatra was a fearless leader and was an able administrator, he said. The BJD MP from Kendrapara, Baijayant Panda, said he had a long association with Mohapatra despite their political differences. “When the BJD parliamentary party split in 2002, both of us worked together to avert the crisis. I visited him a few times when he was diagnosed with cancer,” said Panda.
Senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra, chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, development commissioner R Balakrishnan and several IAS officers paid homage. Mohapatra’s family members, however, rued that though he had built the party from scratch, hardly a handful called on him during his illness.