Former assembly speaker and senior Congress leader Harnam Das Johar passed away in Ludhiana on Sunday after a cardiac arrest.
He was 83. The former minister had developed a urinary infection two days ago. “We rushed him to SPS Hospital on Sunday morning after he suffered a heart attack,” Johar’s son Ajay told HT.
The senior Congress leader was cremated with full state honours with a host of political leaders, cutting across party lines, present at the ceremony.
Johar was first elected as Congress MLA from Ludhiana West constituency in 1985.
Johar started his career with the Indian Air Force. Before actively joining politics, he worked as a lawyer.
He was nominated as the district chief of the party in 1989 and continued on the post till 1992 when he became the education minister in the Beant Singh government. He was nominated as speaker in 1993. Later, Johar became minister for local bodies in the government led by Rajinder Kaur Bhattal in 1996.
A large number of political leaders, including Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu and political adviser to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal Maheshinder Singh Grewal, were present at the cremation.
Mourning the demise of the senior leader, Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh said: “Johar’s death is a huge loss not only to the family but also to the party.” He also called up Johar’s son to express his condolences.
CM Badal, deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal and speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, also mourned Johar’s demise.
In a condolence message, the chief minister said the state has lost an experienced leader, who believed in clean and value-based politics.
Sukhbir said Johar always conducted proceedings of the Vidhan Sabha with impartiality and performed his duties as minister with absolute integrity.