Popular tribal leader and former Odisha Minister Bhagirathi Gamango passed away following prolonged illness, family sources said today.

Gamango (75), eminent Congress leader, who had been ailing for quite some time, died last evening while returning from Bhubaneswar to his village in Rayagada district, they said.

He was undergoing treatment at a private hospital here and was going back home after being discharged.

A popular leader in undivided Koraput district, Gamango was a six-time MLA and had served as minister between 1973 and 1977 holding different departments like supply, rural development, cooperation and agriculture.

A host of dignitaries and leaders, including Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly Bhupinder Singh and former Chief Minister Giridhar Gamang have condoled his death.

Describing Gamango as an able administrator and popular tribal leader, the Chief Minister said the late leader had contributed immensely for the uplift of dalits and tribals.

Bhupinder Singh hailed Gomango as a grass-root level leader and said Odisha has lost a popular tribal leader.

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