Guwahati, July 26 : Bijoy Krishna Handique, the veteran Assamese politician, and former Union minister, died on Sunday at a hospital in Jorhat.
The 81-year-old Handique was admitted to the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital on Saturday because of heart problems. He was taken to the Intensive Care Unit. He died on Sunday just after midday (12:30 pm).
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Anjan Dutta both paid their respects to the veteran politician.
Born in 1934, Bijoy Krishna Handique was the only son of renowned scholar Krishnakanta Handique. He attended Jorhat Government Boys’ Higher Secondary School. At Presidency College, Calcutta, he studied English literature, and completed an M.A. in English from the University of Calcutta.
Even as a schoolboy, he was active in politics. While in Class VII, he organised other students in a “Vote for Congress” campaign, before the Assam provincial elections of 1945.
As an adult, he served in Assam’s Legislative Assembly, in India’s upper house, and the lower house. He was first elected to the Assam Legislative Assembly in 1972. He became a member of India’s upper house (Rajya Sabha) between 1980 and 1985. In 1991, he was elected to the Lok Sabha for Jorhat constituency, and served there for six consecutive terms, until 2009.
In the UPA-I government, Bijoy Krishna Handique served as the Union Minister of State for Defence, Parliamentary Affairs, Mines, Chemicals and Fertilizer. In the UPA-II government, he served as Minister for Mines and Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER).
Even after leaving the Lok Sabha, he was active in politics. Since 2012, he was a member of the Indian National Congress’ Central Election Committee, which selects party candidates for state and national elections.