Jorhat/ Guwahati, July 26: Veteran Congressman and six-time Member of Parliament Bijoy Krish Handique died today afternoon at the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital. He was 82.
Handique was admitted to JMCH for heart-related problems yesterday and shifted to the ICU.
The veteran Congress leader, who was born in 1933, leaves behind his wife and three daughters.
Handique was the Minister for Mines and Development of North Eastern Region in the UPA-II government.
Earlier, he also held the portfolios of Union Minister of State for Defence, Parliamentary Affairs, Mines, and Chemicals and Fertilizers during the tenure of the UPA-I government.
An alumni of Jorhat Boy’s Higher Secondary School, Handique studied literature at Presidency College before completing his master’s degree from Calcutta University.
Only son of intertiolly acclaimed Sanskrit scholar, indologist and philanthropist Krish Kanta Handique, the senior politician from Assam was elected to Lok Sabha from Jorhat for six consecutive terms since 1991.
He was also a member of Rajya Sabha from 1980 to 1985 and a member of several parliamentary committees.
Handique, first elected to Assam Legislative Assembly in 1972, became an AICC member in 1973 and Congress Working Committee member in 2002.
He had made provisions for doting his eyes to Jyoti Eye Hospital before breathing his last. The funeral will be held tomorrow. Jorhat MLA Ra Goswami said a condolence meeting will be held tomorrow before the funeral. The Jorhat district administration has declared half-holiday after 1 PM on Monday.
Chief Minister Gogoi, who was in Jorhat, rushed to the JMCH on hearing of Handique’s demise and paid tributes. “In his death, Assam has lost a very good parliamentarian, while I have lost a very dear friend,” Gogoi said.
PWD Minister Ajanta Neog, Education Minister Sarat Barkataki, Mahmora MLA Sarat Saikia, Jorhat MLA Ra Goswami, Dergaon MLA Aroti Kachari Hazarika, former MP Deep Gogoi, Teok MLA Membor Gogoi and thousands of followers besides Congress party workers, flocked to the house of the departed leader to pay their last respects.
Governor PB Acharya, AICC president Sonia Gandhi, AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi, AICC general secretary Assam in-charge CP Joshi, Assam Assembly Speaker Prab Kumar Gogoi, APCC president Anjan Dutta, Rajya Sabha MP Bhubaneswar Kalita, Kaliabor MP Gaurav Gogoi, all the Congress wings in the State, former Chief Minister PK Mahanta, AGP president Atul Bora, AGP legislature party leader Phanibhusan Choudhury, Union minister Sarbanda Sonowal, Jorhat MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, BJP State president Siddhartha Bhattacharjee, former CPI MLA Drupad Borgohain, AICC secretaries Bhupen Kumar Bora and Ra Goswami have condoled Handique’s demise.
Sonia Gandhi has instructed AICC leader Hari Prasad to attend the funeral on behalf of the party.