Akhilesh Das Gupta

Lucknow, April 12 (IANS) Former union minister and Badminton Association of India (BAI) President Akhilesh Das Gupta died here on Wednesday, prompting a raft of condolences from several quarters.

According to his family, the Congress leader died following cardiac arrest. He was 56.

Son of former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Banarasi Das Gupta, he was admitted to the Lari Cardiology Centre after he complained of distress, a family member told IANS.

“Akhilesh Das Gupta was a multifaceted personality who contributed immensely in the field of education, government and sports administration,” Goel said in his condolence message.

“In Akhilesh Das Gupta’s death, I have lost not only a personal friend but also a fellow sports administrator whose contribution in the promotion of badminton will always be remembered,” he added.

Recalling his last meeting with Gupta during the recently concluded India Open World Superseries 2017 here, the Sports Minister said he will always cherish his fond memories.

During Gupta’s time at the helm of the BAI, Indian shuttlers performed well at the international level, winning medals at the London Olympics in 2012 and the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“The Indian Olympic Association suffered a huge loss in terms of Akhilesh Das Gupta who passed away today due to heart attack. He was servicing as the Vice President of the Indian Olympic Association and was also the President of Badminton Association of India,” the IOA said in a statement on Wednesday.

“He was also the President of Uttar Pradesh Olympic Association. He contributed a lot to the sport of Badminton while serving as the Chairman of the Premier Badminton League, the Vice President of the Badminton Asia Confederation, and was also part of the Executive Council of Badminton World Federation,” the statement added.

Gupta also organised the Premier Badminton League (PBL) with an aim to promote the game in the country.

“It is an extremely saddening day for us. On behalf of IOA family I send out my condolences to his family; may God be with them during this extremely difficult time,” IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said.

“Gupta was a man of huge caliber, his contribution to the sport of Badminton has been commendable. While serving as the Vice President of the IOA, he contributed towards the growth of sports in our country,” he added.

BAI General Secretary Anup Narang also mourned Gupta’s demise.

With profound grief and sorrow, I am informing you about the sudden demise of our dear Akhilesh Das Gupta ji. A great visionary under whose leadership Badminton grew leaps and bounds in India, is unfortunately no more amongst us.

“This sudden loss has come as a shock to the Badminton Fraternity across the world,” Narang said.

“The benchmark set by him in taking Badminton to greater heights and putting India amongst the top badminton playing nations of the world will always be remembered.

“The legacy he has left as a former player, administrator and a great visionary, will continue to inspire and guide Badminton Association of India to work and promote the game,” he added.

Gupta was Minister of State for Steel in the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance government in 2004-09. He was also a former Mayor of Lucknow.

Gupta was a three-time Rajya Sabha member — twice from the Congress and once from the Bahujan Samaj Party.

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