Kolkata, Nov.14 : Former Union Minister and senior Trinamool Congress leader Ajit Panja died of cancer at a private hospital in Kolkata on Friday morning. He was 72 and is survived by his son and daughter.
Hospital sources said that Panja, who was admitted on October 26, breathed his last at 4.30 a.m.
He was born in Kolkata in 1936 and studied in the Scottish Church College and Lincoln's Inn. He was a member of Supreme Court Bar Association and Calcutta High Court Bar Association. A lawyer by profession, Panja was a six-time MP and a former union minister. He was also a brilliant actor who essayed the role of Ramakrishna Paramhans on stage effectively.
Panja was elected to the West Bengal Assembly in 1971 for the first time and was Minister for Health and Family Planning in the Siddhartha Shankar Ray Government from 1972 to 1977. He became the president of the Congress party unit in West Bengalin 1980. In 1984,he was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Calcutta North East constituency.
He held a number of portfolios in the Rajiv Gandhi Government including that of Minister of State for Planning in 1985 and Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies in 1986. He also held independent charge of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry from 1986 to 1988 and was Minister of State for Finance as well.