He was born to Raja V. Durgaprasad Deo and Rani Sobhalata Devi.
He obtained his bachelor’s degree in economics and masters degree in Political Science from Madras Christian College, Chennai.
He first came to limelight after winning 1977 Lok Sabha elections and till has been elected five times as a Lok Sabha MP. He has also been sent to Rajya Sabha from 2011 to 2015. The important positions held by him during his illustrious political career are Minister of State for Steel, Mines and Coal in the Central Cabinet from 1979-80 and Cabinet Minister - Tribal and Panchayati Raj Affairs from 2011 to 2014.
He has been designated on various parliamentary committees and has been the decision maker of several key parliamentary committees which includes the Parliamentary Board on the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Bill which was marshaled to the historic Forest Rights Act. He also headed the Parliamentary Committee on Public Undertakings and the parliamentary inquiry into the matter of cash-for-votes misconduct.
In addition to politics, he has also authored a book titled Changing India's Political Mould. The book published in the year 1993.