Sikander Bakht: BJP's best known Muslim face

Sikander Bakht: BJP's best known Muslim face
Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 23 (PTI) Kerala Governor Sikander Bakht, who died here tonight, was BJP's best known Muslim face after having played a long innings in the Congress.

Born and brought up in Delhi, Bakht, epitomising the culture and charm of the old world of the Indian capital, was a seasoned politician adept at devising the right strategy in complex situations.

Leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha for seven years, 85-yer-old Bakht joined BJP after long association with Congress and a brief stint with Janata Party.

He was a member of the Congress till the 1969 split when he threw his lot with the Congress (O) and was in the party's working committee between 1969 and 1977.

Having suffered imprisonment for 18 months during the 1975-77 Emergency, Bakht became one of the founder-members of Janata Party.

Elected to the Lok Sabha in 1977, Bakht joined the Morarji Desai Cabinet as Minister for Works, Housing, Supply, Rehabilitation and Wakf.

When Janata Party split after the fall of the Morarji Government, Bakht joined BJP, a party with which he had been associated since then as one of its tallest leaders from the minority community.

In 1980-82, he was BJP general secretary and from 1982 to 1993 the party's vice president.

Bakht was assigned the key External Affairs portfolio in the first A B Vajpayee Governmnent which lasted only 13 days in 1996. He was there again in 1998-99 Vajpayee Government holding the charge of Industry.

Bakht had served as the opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha from 1992 to 1998 and leader of the house in 1998-99. He was sworn in as Kerala Governor on April 18, 2002.

A skilled parliamentarian and astute debator, Bakht led several parliamentary committees and delegations abroad.

Bakht had also served as chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Commerce from 1999 to 2002 and headed the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Wakf Board during the same period.

He had led the Indian delegation to Indian Infrastructure summit in Washington in 1998, Indo-Bearus inter-governmental commission to Minsk in 1998 and Destination India programme, in Tokyo in 1998.

A graduate from Delhi university, Bakht had been an ardent fan of Indian classical music and a keen student of Urdu poetry and had special interest in sports.

Next Story : PM condoles Sikandar Bakht's death
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