Former union minister Tapan Sikdar dead

Kolkata/New Delhi : BJP leader and former union minister Tapan Sikdar died at a hospital in Delhi early Monday following a cardiac arrest. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he would be remembered for “his years of dedicated public service”.

Sikdar, 71, was a bachelor.

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“Tapan Sikdar ji’s demise is extremely saddening. May his soul rest in peace,” Modi said in a tweet. “Tapan Sikdar will be remembered for his rich contribution in building the BJP and his years of dedicated public service.”

A patient of chronic renal failure, he was airlifted from Kolkata to Delhi and admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) May 29, two days after he was put on ventillator support at a private hospital in Kolkata.

He died at 4.20 a.m. Monday.

A good public speaker and one of the architects in the growth of the Bharatiya Janata Party in West Bengal since the 1990s, Sikdar became the party’s first MP from the state in 1998 by winning the Lok Sabha election from Dum Dum.

He repeated his performance in 1999.

As a minister in the Atal Bihari Vajapyee government from 1999 to 2004, he handled the portfolios of communications and information technology, chemicals and fertilizers and small scale industries as also development of north-eastern region.

Sikdar, however, lost the polls from Dum Dum in 2004 and 2009. He also unsuccessfully contested from the same constituency this year.

BJP sources said his body would be brought to Kolkata Monday evening.

Condoling Sikdar’s death, state BJP president Rahul Sinha said: “It was a big loss for the party and the state”.