Kerala Governor, Sikander Bakht, who was a senior BJP leader, passed away in Thiruvananthapuram on February 23. He was 85. He was hospitalised following pain in the lower abdomen on February 19 and had undergone a surgery for intestinal block. He is survived by his wife, Raj Sharma Bakht and two sons?Anil and Sunil Bakht.
Born in Kartarpur mohalla of old Delhi, Sikander Bakht had taken over as Governor of Kerala on 18 April, 2002. He represented Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha constituency from 1977 to 1979 and was Member of Rajya Sabha from 1990 to 2002. He was a Union Minister for Works, Housing, Supply, Rehabilitation and Wakf during the Janata Party rule in 1977, Minister for Urban Affairs, Employment and External Affairs in 1996 and Minister for Industry from 1998-99. He was leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha from 1992-98 and leader of the Lok Sabha during 1998-99.
Bakht was with the Congress until 1969. He joined the Janata Party during 1977. Detained for 18 months during the Emergency, he finally moved on to BJP and was party general secretary from 1980-1982 and its vice-president from 1982 to 1983. He also received the Padma Vibhushan in 2000.
His mortal remains were laid to rest in Delhi with full state honours. Prominent among those who paid tributes included President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam; Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat; Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee; Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani; Union Minister O. Rajagopal and Kerala Chief Minister A.K. Antony, besides hundreds of admirers.
In his condolence message the RSS Sarsanghchalak, K.S. Sudarshan described Sikander Bakht as an upright man of principles who had an affable temperament and endeared himself to all those who came in contact with him. Political untouchability was unknown to him and his earnest endeavour was to bring the Indian Muslim society into the national mainstream. (FOC)