New Delhi : Ashok Saikia, a powerful bureaucrat in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) when Atal Behari Vajpayee headed the government, died here early Sunday after a heart surgery.
The mild-mannered, unassuming IAS officer of the 1971 batch from Assam was suffering from various complications and after a marathon surgery conducted by top doctors at the Escorts Heart Institute passed away.
He is survived by his wife and two sons.
Saikia’s body was flown to Guwahati for cremation in his hometown in Assam.
“He was brought in a critical condition. His valves and arteries were blocked and critical,” said Dr T S Kler, director (cardiology) at the institute.
Saikia had joined as executive director of the Asian Development Bank in Manila in July 2004, succeeding bureaucrat Piyush Mankad after his stint as joint secretary in the PMO.
During his tenure in the PMO, Saikia was considered close to Vajpayee, having known him since early ‘sixties, and looked after administration and agriculture.
He along with former national security advisor Brajesh Mishra and Vajpayee’s then private secretary Shakti Sinha formed the influential troika in the PMO.
An avid photographer, Saikia was also a proficient badminton and table tennis player when he was posted as additional district collector in Assam in the early 1970s.