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Veteran Congress leader, former Union Minister Sukh Ram dies at 94


SHIMLA: Veteran Congress leader and former Union minister Sukh Ram has died, his grandson said on Wednesday.

He was 94.

He had suffered a brain stroke in Manali in Himachal Pradesh on May 4, following which he was admitted at the regional hospital in Mandi.

Later, the Congress leader was airlifted to Delhi and admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for better treatment on May 7.

Sukh Ram's grandson Aashray Sharma said his body will be kept at Seri Manch in Himachal Pradesh's Mandi for 'antim darshans' on Thursday.

"Goodbye grandfather, the phone won't ring now (alvida dadajee, abhi nahi bajegee phone ki ghanti)," Aashray Sharma said in a Facebook post around 2 am on Wednesday.

However, the post did not mention when Sukh Ram breathed his last.

In another post on Wednesday morning, Aashray Sharma said Sukh Ram's body will reach his home city Mandi on Wednesday at 6 pm.

His body will be kept at Seri Manch in Mandi for 'antim darshans' for the public to pay tributes on Thursday at 11 am, he added.

Aashray Sharma also posted his childhood photo with his grandfather.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on May 7 had provided a state helicopter for airlifting the veteran political leader to Delhi for treatment.

Sukh Ram was the Union minister of state communications (independent charge) from 1993 to 1996.

He was a member of the Lok Sabha from the Mandi constituency.

He won in five assembly elections and was thrice elected to Lok Sabha.

In 2011, Sukh Ram was sentenced to five years imprisonment for corruption when he was communications minister in 1996.

His son Anil Sharma is a BJP MLA from Mandi.

Sukh Ram had represented the Mandi assembly seat from 1963 to 1984.

During his tenure as state animal husbandry minister, he brought cows from Germany which led to the increase in income of farmers.

He was elected to Lok Sabha in 1984 and served as a junior minister in the Rajiv Gandhi government.

Sukh Ram served as minister of state for defence production and supplies, planning and food and civil supplies.

Sukh Ram was the union minister of state (independent charge) holding the communications portfolio from 1993 to 1996.

While Sukh Ram represented the Mandi Lok Sabha constituency, his son Anil Sharma contested and won the assembly seat in 1993.

The Congress leader had won the Mandi Lok Sabha seat in 1996, but he and his son were expelled from the party after the telecom scam.

Subsequently, they floated the Himachal Vikas Congress Party, which entered into a post-poll alliance with the BJP and joined the government.

In 1998, Sukh Ram contested the assembly elections from Mandi Sadar and won by a huge margin.

His son Anil Sharma was elected to Rajya Sabha in 1998.

In the 2003 assembly poll, he retained the Mandi assembly seat but rejoined the Congress in the run-up to the 2004 Lok Sabha polls.

His son Anil Sharma won the Mandi assembly seat in 2007 and 2012 as a Congress candidate.

Prior to the 2017 assembly elections, Sukh Ram joined the BJP along with his son and grandson.

However, Sukh Ram along with his grandson rejoined the Congress right before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to get a Congress ticket for Aashray Sharam but he could not win.

Sukh Ram was born on July 27, 1927.

His other grandson Aayush Sharma is an actor and married to Bollywood superstar Salman Khan's sister.