Bhubaneswar: Eminent writer and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Hussain Rabi Gandhi passed away following protracted illness at the SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack, on Saturday. He was 74 yeats old.
Gandhi was associated with Biju Pattnaik and served the Biju Janata Dal as its General Secretary from 1998 to 2005.
Hussain was born as Chowdhury Fazal e Haq Mohammad on April 23, 1948, in MuftiBagh, Haldigadia village of Jajpur district into the ruling family of Tarakot.
He did his master’s degree in history from Gangadhar Meher College, Sambalpur and then L.L.B and practised law for a brief period in Odisha High Court.
Hussain’s political career started as early as in his youth when he was elected as the President of the Students Union at Gangadhar Meher College. He also served as the President of the Students Union at L.R. Law college at Sambalpur.
During the 1969 historic students strike in Odisha, Gandhi was appointed the chairman of the Western Odisha students action committee.
He had conducted and participated in various strikes all over Odisha and was imprisoned several times for the same.
Hussain also wrote poems to mobilise the students, which earned him the titles of ‘Rabi’ and Gandhi.
In 1985 he contested the state assembly elections from Korai constituency under the Jagrat Odisha party formed by the former Odisha chief minister Nandini Satpathy.
He also served as the President of the Jan Morcha’s regional youth branch in Odisha but later joined the Janata Dal in 1988 and was appointed the General secretary of the party by Pattnaik.
Hussain was appointed the chairman of Odisha state leather corporation Ltd by Biju Patnaik In December 1997, the Janta Dal was divided and a new political party called the Biju Janata Dal was formed. Hussain was one among the founding members of the party.
In January 1998 he was appointed the General Secretary of the Biju Janata Dal by party chief Naveen Patnaik
Gandhi was active in politics as well as in Odia literary scene. He was associated with the movement to revive Revolutionary Humanism in Odia poetry.
Gandhi served as the Vice-President (2005-2008) and then the President of Odisha Sahitya Akademi
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik condoled the demise of Gandhi.
In a message, Patnaik said Hussian was a veteran leader long associated with Biju Babu and later with Biju Janata Dal. He has contributed immensely in strengthening the Biju Janata Dal and promoted the values of Biju Babu and BJD.