New Delhi, June 3 (IANS) Union minister and senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde was killed in a car accident here Tuesday morning, rendering a set-back to the Narendra Modi government barely a week after he took charge.
Munde, 64, an important figure in Maharashtra politics, was going to the Indira Gandhi International Airport in his Maruti Suzuki SX4 car and was hit by a Tata Indica at Aurobindo Marg in south Delhi around 6.20 a.m., police said.
“The impact was from the side where he (Munde) was seated. It jolted him…he was in shock and had some water while being rushed to the AIIMS trauma centre,” the police said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Munde as “a true mass leader” and said he was “extremely saddened and shocked” by the union minister’s death.
“My tributes to a dynamic leader whose premature demise leaves a void hard to fill,” tweeted Modi.
Modi said in another tweet: “Hailing from backward sections of society, he rose to great heights & tirelessly served people.”
“Extremely saddened & shocked by the demise of my friend & colleague Gopinath Munde ji. His demise is a major loss for the Nation & the Govt.”
According to doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Trauma Centre, where the injured rural development minister was taken, Munde had “no pulse, no blood pressure” and was not breathing.
“On his arrival to the AIIMS Trauma Centre, there was no spontaneous breathing, no blood pressure, no pulse, there was no cardiac activity. So immediately CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) was started and was continued for the next 50 minutes,” AIIMS public relations officer Amit Gupta told the media.
“Despite all aggressive resuscitative measures, he could not be revived and has been declared dead at 7.20 a.m.,” Gupta added.
He told IANS that “there were no grievous external injuries”.
“It seems, he had a cardiac arrest after the impact.”
Munde was brought to the hospital by his personal assistant and his driver at 6.30 a.m., 10 minutes after the accident, Gupta said.
The body has been sent for post-mortem examination.
Transport Minister and BJP leader Nitin Gadkari said that Munde’s body will be taken to Marathwada (Maharashtra) and the last rites will take place Wednesday.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who along with Gadkari was the first to reach the hospital, said: “When he (Munde) reached AIIMS, he was in a state of cardiac arrest and was very serious. The post-mortem report will reveal the exact cause of death.”
Gurvinder, driver of the Indica car, has been arrested and has been sent for a medical check-up.
RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav termed Munde’s death as “a great loss” for the party, state and national politics.
“Demise of Gopinathji shocking n saddening. He was d tallest leader n Maharashtra. A great loss to d Party, State n National politics,” Madhav tweeted.
“Homage Gopinathji played crucial role in d growth of d Party in Maharashtra. Starting with student politics he grew up to become a national leader.”
The news of Munde’s death shocked Maharashtra’s political circles and top political leaders and activists caught flights, trains to reach New Delhi.