The seasoned politician who was witness to Kashmir’s chequered history has ceased to be. Congressman Janak Raj Gupta passed away on September 13 after suffering from a heart attack in Jammu hospital. He was 79 and is survived by his wife Uma Gupta, daughter Saloni Mahajan and son Vicky Mahajan.
Gupta was a two-time Member Parliament (MP) from Jammu- Poonch Lok Sabha Constituency. His mortal remains were consigned to flames at Jogi Gate Cremation Ground, on the banks of river Tawi.
The late politician’s major political break came in 1969 when he became member of J&K Legislative Council. In the years that followed, he fought elections and was elected as MLA from RS Pura Assembly Constituency twice, in 1977 and 1983. He also rose to become Dy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in 1977.
By 1984, he moved to Delhi by contesting 1984 Lok Sabha polls. In the same year, he became Member Lok Sabha from Jammu-Poonch constituency, the seat he retained in 1989.
Gupta was the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s contemporary. Both of them were together in Congress party at one point of time and reportedly shared a great rapo. In his condolence message, Mufti minced no words to describe Gupta as a man with great vision who devoted his entire life in the service of the poor and downtrodden.
But Gupta’s death was apparently a personal loss to Congress’ Rajya Sabha leader and JK’s former chief minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad. Gupta was Azad’s political advisor when he was CM. Out of this political proximity, Azad described Gupta as prominent political personality whose passing away created a “fathomless void” in the political landscape of the state which he believes can’t be bridged.
For the man who remained active in the Congress party till his last breath, the best tribute came from BJP man and state’s deputy CM, Dr Nirmal Singh. Singh, sobriquet as “Mr Jammu”, described Gupta philanthropist parliamentarian, who would be “remembered” for long.