Amritsar, May 15, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
Six-time Congress MP and two-time Governor R.L. Bhatia passed away in Amritsar on Saturday, his family members said.
Former Minister of State for External Affairs, Bhatia was 100 years old. He represented the Amritsar parliamentary constituency six times from 1972, and was the Governor of Kerala from 2004 to 2008 and of Bihar from 2008 to 2009.
He was admitted to Fortis Hospital a day earlier after he complained of uneasiness. He tested positive for Covid a few days ago.
Known for his impeccable image, Bhatia would have turned 101 on July 3.
Born to Arooramal Bhatia and Lal Devi Bhatia, in Amritsar, Bhatia had graduated from the University of the Punjab in Lahore, and received an LLB. After this, he served as a member of the governing body of Amritsar for nine years.
Bhatia was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1972, from the Amritsar Parliamentary Constituency. He was re-elected to the Lok Sabha from the same constituency at the 1980, 1985, 1992, 1996 and 1999 elections as a member of the Indian National Congress.
During this time he held several other posts as well. He was a member of the executive committee of Congress parliamentary party from 1975 to 1977, the Minister of State for External Affairs in the Government of India from July 1992 until 1993, the Chairman of the Committee of petitions in Lok Sabha in 1983, the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee 1982 through 1984, the General Secretary of AICC in 1991, and also a member of the select committee constituted in 1992 for the amendment of the constitution.
During his time in the Lok Sabha, Bhatia represented India as a delegate to the United Nations, and participated as a delegate in the 7th NAM summit held in Delhi, in March 1983, the Common Wealth Heads of Government Meeting in New Delhi in November 1983, the Sixth SAARC summit in Colombo in 1991, and the 5th meeting of coordinating countries of the action programme for economic cooperation of non-aligned countries held in Delhi in 1986.
Bhatia was also a member of the India Council for Cultural Relations from 1983 to 1984. He was chairman of the India Bulgaria Friendship Society from 1983 to 1990, and the Indo-GDR Friendship Association 1983 to 1990. He was also co-chairman of the All India Peace & Solidarity organization from 1981 to 1983, and the Vice President of Friends of Soviet Union from 1983 to 1984.
Following the death of Sikander Bhakt in 2004, Bhatia became the Governor of Kerala. After spending four years in that post, Bhatia was appointed as Governor of Bihar on 26 June 2008, switching posts with Bihar Governor R. S. Gavai. He was sworn in on 10 July 2008.He left office in 2009, and now leads a private life.