Bhubaneswar: Former minister and Patkura sitting MLA Bed Prakash Agarwalla was easily the face of non-Congress politics in the state.
His 50-year-long political career spanned governments from Nilamani Routray to Naveen Patnaik.
He was minister of commerce and transport in the Nilamani Routray cabinet in 1979 and was later shifted to tourism and culture and parliamentary affairs departments.
In the Biju Patnaik government, he served as finance minister from 1991 to 1995 while in the Naveen Patnaik government of 2000, he was the food, civil supplies and rural development minister.
Agarwalla entered active politics in 1957 when he was elected as councillor of the Kendrapara municipality. He was Kendrapara municipality chairman from 1970 to 1974 and catapulted to eminence after being elected as Patkura MLA as a candidate of the Utkal Congress led by Biju Patnaik.
He won elections from Kendrapara assembly constituency four times (1974, 1977, 1990, 2000) as a nominee of Utkal Congress, Janata Party, Janata Dal and BJP and twice from Patkura Assembly segment (2009, 2014) on BJD ticket.
However, he had lost the 2004 elections from Kendrapara as a saffron party candidate to Utkal Keshari Parida of Orissa Gana Parishad.
He was later appointed as the vice-chairmanship of the state planning commission.
Agarwalla joined the BJD after the BJD-BJP pact was dismantled in 2009 and represented the party from Patkura in 2009 and 2014.
A close associate of Biju Patnaik, Agarwal was chairman of the Biju Centenary Celebration Committee. Despite his ill health, he was made the chairman of the BJD manifesto committee and was renominated for Patkura Assembly seat.