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Sushila Kerketta passes away

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OUR CORRESPONDENT   |   Ranchi   |   Published 19.10.09, 12:00 AM

Ranchi, Oct. 19: Senior Congress leader Sushila Kerketta died in Ranchi today following a heart attack. She was 70 and is survived by three sons and a daughter.

Kerketta had been staying with her eldest son Roshan Kumar Surin and had not been keeping well for the last few weeks. She suffered a heart attack at noon and was rushed to the nearby Raj Hospital by her family, where efforts to save her failed.

As news of her death spread, Union minister Subodh Kant Sahay, former Union minister Rameshwar Oraon, former MPs Bagun Sumbrai and Furqan Ansari, Lohardaga MLA Sukhdeo Bhagat and Congress member Alok Dubey, among others, rushed to her place to pay their last respects. They described her death as a terrible blow for the Congress party.

A postgraduate in philosophy, Kerketta began her career as a lecturer in Birsa College, Khunti, and went on to become its principal. She represented Khunti in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha from 1985 to 2000. She also represented Khunti in the Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2009 after defeating veteran BJP leader Karia Munda.

She held several important portfolios in the Bihar government. She was minister of state for irrigation (independent charge) from 1985-88. She was promoted to cabinet rank in 1989 and headed mines and geology and the food and civil supplies departments.

Kerketta was also co-ordinator of several committees of the Bihar Vidhan Sabha, including public accounts committee and petition committee. She headed the Bihar Assembly committee on women and child development twice. She was also deputy leader of Congress party in the Bihar Assembly.

In the Lok Sabha, she was a member of the committee on empowerment of women, labour committee and South Eastern Railway committee. A couple of months before the 2005 Jharkhand Assembly elections, she was made state president of the Congress.

Kerketta will be cremated tomorrow in the state capital.

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