Itanagar: Former minister Jotam Toko Takam breathed his last following a prolonged illness on Monday. He was 55.

Born on September 3, 1966, in remote Poru village under the Pistana Circle of Lower Subansiri district, Takam was alumni of Sainik School, Rewa in Madhya Pradesh. He started his political career as the vice-president of Panchayati Raj in 1992.

His stint in active politics reached the pinnacle when he was elected as MLA from the 16-Yachuli Assembly Constituency in 1999 as an NCP candidate. He then went on to serve as the minister of fisheries, labour and employment in the then chief minister Mukut Mithi-led Congress government.

A veteran political figure of the state, Takam also served as the vice-president of the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee and was also a Zilla Parishad Member of Yachuli. He was the state vice-president of the National People’s Party.

Governor Brig (Retd) BD Mishra and Chief Minister Pema Khandu have extended their condolences on the sudden demise of Takam.

The governor in his message said, “with the passing away of Takam, the state and the people of Yachuli have lost one of the senior public leaders who guided the state during its formative stages.”

Takam was a distinguished social worker, a far-sighted public figure and a promoter of democratic values, the governor said.

Chief Minister Khandu in his condolence message to Toko Takam, the late minister’s son said that his father was one of the pioneering political figures of Arunachal Pradesh, who represented one of the most picturesque and productive assembly constituencies of the state —Yachuli.

“Not only as a minister but also as a humble, honest and a compassionate human, Late Takam has left behind a legacy to cherish. His will to serve the society is exemplified by the fact that he has been politically and socially active till his last breath,” Khandu said.

The chief minister said Takam’s calm demeanour, humility and open heart made him stand out as a true gentleman in the galaxy of politicians.

He will always have a special place in the hearts of every Arunachalee, especially the people of Yachuli constituency, Khandu said.

Meghalaya chief minister and NPP president Conrad Sangma took to Twitter to extend his condolences.

“I am saddened by the untimely demise of Toko Takam former Minister and Vice-President of National People’s Party (NPP) Arunachal Pradesh. It’s a huge loss for the NPP. My deepest condolences to the family members. May his soul RIP,” the chief minister wrote.

Agriculture minister Tage Taki said he has lost an old friend in Takam’s demise.

“He was a humble and a true gentleman. Yachuli has lost a good leader,” the minister said while extending his condolences to the bereaved family members.

The state unit of NPP has also mourned the senior politician’s death.

Takam’s demise is shocking and heartbreaking news for all of us and his family in particular. His passing away has left a deep void in the NPP family. He was a great visionary leader who contributed a lot to the all-around development in the state, the NPP said.

The Toko Welfare Association in a communiqué stated that Takam’s untimely departure has caused a vacuum irreparable and irreplaceable for the entire Toko family.

The last rites of the former minister will be performed at his home in Yazali on Wednesday.

The Arunachal Pradesh government has declared a one-day state mourning on Wednesday as a mark of respect to the departed soul.

Takam is survived by a son and four daughters.

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