Ministers, Politicians



(5 May 1945 – 5 February 2017)

Former minister of Railway, Politician

Suranjit Sengupta is a well-known name in Bangladeshi politics. He has been in politics for nearly five decades. He was born in the middle of the last century. The anti-British movement was over. The British are leaving India. The division of India on the basis of the communal two-nation theory is imminent. Suranjit Sengupta was born in undivided India. A little over a year later, when the country was partitioned, Sunamganj, the birthplace of Suranjit Sengupta, fell into the state of Pakistan. Which was named as a free state which does not guarantee equal rights to all its citizens. As a Muslim state, people of other faiths were, by nature, second-class citizens in Pakistan. It wasn’t just about religion. After the establishment of Pakistan, the state was also against the interests of Bengalis. The Pakistani rulers were also conspiring to dominate Bengali both economically and culturally. As a result, the struggle for the establishment of language rights in the new state of Pakistan began in 1948. So it can be said that Suranjit Sengupta grew up in a hostile environment. The environment affects the human psyche. Suranjit Sengupta also did so because he walked the difficult path of politics all his life. He was well-liked and well-respected in politics. However, he had to cross the paths of many obstacles to reach the top.

Life of "Suranjit Sengupta" At a Glance

  • Real Name: Suranjit Sengupta

    Date of Birth: May 5, 1945 

    Date of Death: February 5, 2017

    Place of Birth: Anwarapur village, Derai Upazila, Sunamganj District, Bangladesh

    Father’s Name: Devendra Nath Sengupta 

    Mother’s Name: Sumati Bala Sengupta

    Siblings: 3 brothers, 1 sister

    Profession: Politician, Lawyer


    ➢ BA (Honours) and MA in General History from University of Dhaka

    ➢ LLB from Central Law College

    ➢Member of Supreme Court Bar Council

    Experience and Ranking:

    ➢ Elected member of Provincial Assembly in 1970 Pakistan election 

    ➢ Sub-sector commander in Bangladesh Liberation War 1971

    ➢ Elected MP 7 times in independent Bangladesh

    ➢ Parliamentary Affairs Advisor to PM Sheikh Hasina 

    ➢ Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs

    ➢ Railway Minister 2011-2012

    ➢ Member of AL Advisory Council

    Sports: Enjoyed watching cricket

    Religion: Hindu

    Native Language: Bengali, proficient in English, Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu

    Spouse: Dr. Jaya Sengupta

Early Life and Education

Suranjit was born on 9 February 1939 in Anwarpur village of Dirai, Sunamganj. His father was Dr. Debendranath Sengupta and mother was Sumati Bala Sengupta. His father died while he was in his mother’s womb. His mother died when he was in the sixth grade. His childhood was very miserable. That’s why people called him Dukhi Sen. Despite the hardship he was an energetic and open minded person who can win the heart of the people around him.  He completed his SSC from Dirai High School and HSC from Sylhet MC College. At school, he joined the student union. His guru was former Member of Parliament Gulzar Ahmed. Later, he completed his Graduation from Dhaka University and LLB from Central law college. He was very popular among his peers. He was the president of Jagannath Hall unit of Dhaka University. He then made his living as a lawyer. He became a member of the Bar Council of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He was also an actor at this stage of life. But later he left that part to focus properly in politics. 


Suranjit Sengupta spent more than 30 years in the legislature. He had a magical ability to inspire people. People from all walks of life gathered to listen to his speech. When he used to talk about the Constitution or any important law point in Parliament, all the members used to listen to it mesmerizingly. He started his political career as a student activist. He was elected vice president of Jagannath Hall at Dhaka University on behalf of the student union. Sengupta’s political career started in the 1960s with Marxist student activism. In 1967, when the National Awami Party (NAP) split into two factions in Peking and Moscow, Suranjit left Maulana Bhasani and joined the faction led by Professor Mozaffar Ahmed. Suranjit Sengupta won the NAP provincial assembly in the 1970 elections against the landslide victory of Awami League. He participated in the Liberation War of 1971 as a sub-sector commander and liberation fighter. Sengupta was appointed to parliament seven times in independent Bangladesh between 1979 and 2014, serving various political parties during his tenure. 

He was the youngest member of the Constitution Drafting Committee. Then, in the presence of Prime Minister Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, his vivid and fiery speech in the parliament impressed everyone. The constitution was finally enacted, but he did not sign the main document of the constitution, as education up to the eighth grade was not free and compulsory. Later, he formed a political party and won the election on its ticket. He won seven out of 10 parliamentary elections. 

In the general election in Bangladesh in 1973, he ran as a candidate for the group of the National Awami Party led by Muzaffar Ahmed. In the House in 1979, he was a member of the Ekota Party. In 1991, he was a member of the Ganatantri Party. He became a member of the Bangladesh Awami League party in 1996. For the next three parliaments, he was the representative for Sunamganj-2. In November 2011, Sengupta was made a part of the cabinet for the Railways Ministry, which had just been set up. But when people found out about a bribery scam, leaders from both the Bangladesh Workers Party and the Awami League asked him to step down. He was a minister who didn’t have a specific job. After the 2014 election, he did not get a job in the cabinet.

In April 2012, a major corruption scandal erupted when Sengupta’s personal assistant and two railway officials were caught by police with 74 lakh taka in cash near the minister’s residence. It was alleged that this money was a bribe related to appointments and contracts at the railways ministry. The scandal caused massive public criticism and opposition uproar, with demands for Sengupta’s resignation on moral grounds. Later Sengupta stepped down as Railway Minister while denying his direct involvement. However, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina retained him in the cabinet as a Minister without Portfolio. Ironically, Sengupta had pledged to eradicate corruption in the railways when he took office in 2011. After this scandal, he came to be derided as the “black cat” taking bribes. The corruption allegations cast a permanent stain on Sengupta’s long political legacy, which he was unable to remove before his death in 2017. The scandal forced him to resign as minister amid controversy in the twilight of his career. Sengupta had respect from all political factions due to his persuasive speeches, legal knowledge, and astute analysis. His whole life was lived with a democratic, secular perspective.

Personal Life

Suranjit was the youngest of his four brothers and one sister. Before him, three of his brothers had died. Her sister lives in Kolkata. Jaya Sengupta, Suranjit’s wife, works at an NGO. The only child they have is Showmon Sengupta. Suranjit Sen was married to Jaya Sengupta. He was a former researcher at BRAC. Suranjit Sengupta was a media-friendly politician. He knew how to be a politician in the media and how to speak the language of the people like a magician. He was loved in the media as much as in politics. Though he faced criticism from the media, he did not give up. 


Sengupta made significant contributions to Bangladesh’s parliamentary democracy. He played a key role in drafting the national constitution and was a vocal advocate for parliamentary sovereignty. Known for his eloquent speeches, legal expertise and sharp analysis, he commanded respect across party lines as an elder statesman. 


Through his prolific political career spanning decades, Suranjit Sengupta left an indelible mark on Bangladesh’s parliamentary democracy. He will be remembered as a freedom fighter, constitution drafter, and parliamentarian par excellence. The name of Suranjit Sengupta will forever shine brightly in the annals of Bangladesh’s parliamentary politics. He was elected to Parliament seven times. He had an enviable reputation as a trenchant parliamentarian. He has made remarkable statements in Parliament. He was the center of attraction in Parliament, whether in the ruling party or the opposition. He was like a teacher to the young parliamentarians. As a politician, he always had secular or non-communal thinking and consciousness. He has his own political views. He had the political influence of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, and Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhasani.

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