Prof Jahanara Begum, a former state minister for cultural affairs and BNP vice chairman, died of cardiac arrest in the city on Saturday. She was 79.
Jahanara suffered a cardiac arrest around 7am at her house in the city’s Bashundhara residential area. Doctors pronounced her dead as she was taken to Evercare Hospital, said LDP leader Shahadat Hossain Selim.
She had long been suffering from various diseases, including dementia.
Jahanara left behind two sons, one daughter, and a host of relatives and well-wishers to mourn her death. Her husband Engineer Ahmed Mostafa died in 1986.
Family sources said she will be buried at Shahjahanpur Graveyard after her elder son returns home from the USA. Her body will be kept in the mortuary of the Evercare Hospital.
Jahanara was the founding president of BNP’s Jubo Mohila Dal. She was made an MP from the reserved seat in the fifth national parliament.
Jahanara was elected MP from Rajbari-1 with BNP’s ticket in the sixth parliamentary election held on February 15, 1996.
She was inducted in Khaleda Zia’s cabinet as the state minister for cultural affairs when BNP formed the government in 1991. She was made adviser to then Prime Minister Khaleda Zia on Primary and Mass Education in 2001.
Jahanra along with some BNP leaders, led by Oli Ahmed, left BNP in 2006. Later, they formed Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). She was made the founding secretary general of the LPD.
She also left LDP and joined Barrister Nazmul Huda-led Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF) as its co-chairman in 2012. She then gradually became inactive in politics due to illness.
Meanwhile, LDP president Oli Ahmed, Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhur and another LDP faction president Abdul Karim Abbasi and general secretary Shahadat Hossain Selim and NAP chairman Jebel Rahman Gani and general secretary Golam Mostafa Bhuiyan expressed deep shock at her death.
In separate condolence messages, they prayed for the salvation of the departed soul and conveyed their sympathy to the bereaved family members.