VETERAN Congress leader and former deputy chief minister Mangat Ram Sharma died at his residence after a prolonged illness on Thursday. He was 90. He is survived by six sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren.
A six-time member of the state legislature, Sharma was elected to the Lok Sabha once from the Jammu-Poonch parliamentary constituency. A former state assembly Speaker, Sharma became the deputy chief minister in the PDP-Congress coalition government formed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed after the 2002 elections.
He started his career as a Block Development Officer. After a brief period, he resigned from the past to join politics. He played an important role in the cooperative movement in the state and successfully headed the Kathua district cooperative society for some years before becoming a member of the legislative council.
Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh expressed grief over his death. While Mehbooba said he had great concern for the poor and downtrodden people irrespective of caste, creed, colour, religion or region, Singh said his death has caused a vacuum in political arena of the state.