Sarkar was a widower and had no children.
A former teacher and a five-time legislator, Sarkar was elected from English Bazar (1977, 1982, 1987) and Ratua (2001, 2006) in Malda district – the core area of his political activity.
Between 1982 and 1987, he served as minister of state for municipal affairs and urban development, before taking over as cabinet minister of food processing in 2001.
Between 2006 and 2011, Sarkar was made cabinet minister for environment and parliamentary affairs.
Born July 18, 1940, in Barisal (now in Bangladesh), Sarkar joined the movement against the Bengal-Bihar unification proposal of 1956, and got the membership of the undivided Communist Party of India in 1960.
He joined the Communist Party of India-Marxist in 1964, and later rose to become a member of its state committee.