New Delhi, 4 June-2014(Indilens Web Team): The untimely death of Union Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde on June 3, 2014, has shocked the nation. Munde’s brother-in-law Pramod Mahajan, too, died an untimely death in 2006 when he was shot by his brother Pravin Mahajan.
The controversies pour water by the recent death of Gopinath munde. Our Web team tries to give a flash light on those Car accidents, helicopter crashes and assassinations have cut short many promising political careers in India in the past, which includes former prime ministers and other political leaders.
Here’s a look at the instances of 14 untimely deaths of Indian politicians:
1. Gopinath Munde: Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde died after a head-on road collision on June 3, 2014 in New Delhi, depriving Prime Minister Narendra Modi of a senior ally just eight days after he took office. Munde was on way to the IGI airport to catch a flight to Mumbai when the accident happened. Munde was shifted to the AIIMS trauma centre where doctors failed to find a pulse or cardiac activity. After failing to revive him for 50 minutes, Munde was declared dead by the doctors.
2. Rajesh Pilot: Rajesh Pilot, a former union minister in the Congress government, died in a road accident near Bhandana in Dausa district on June 11, 2000. The 55-year old Indian Air Force pilot-turned politician was critically injured when his jeep collided head-on with a bus at Bhandana village. Pilot suffered multiple injuries on his head, chest and face in the accident which also claimed life of one of his gunmen, who died on the spot.
3. YS Rajasekhara Reddy: YS Rajasekhara Reddy, former Andhra Pradesh chief minister, died in a helicopter crash as his chopper crashed into a cliff 250 km south of Hyderabad on September 2, 2009.
4. Pramod Mahajan: Bharatiya Janata Party’s rising star and the brains behind party’s famous ‘India Shining’ campaign during the 2004 general elections, Pramod Mahajan was shot at by his brother Pravin on April 22, 2006. Family dispute was said to be the reason behind his brother’s extreme act, who had surrendered himself after the murder at a police station. Mahajan succumbed to his wounds 13 days later. After his death, the doctors said Mahajan’s health had deteriorated for the past few days when he was diagnosed with Advanced Respiratory Disorder Syndrome.
5. Rajiv Gandhi: One of the most tragic deaths the independent India saw was that of Rajiv Gandhi, who was killed by an ethnic Tamil suicide bomber on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur as he campaigned for a return to the post of prime minister. He was 47 years old when he passed away. Seventeen other people, including the bomber, also were killed in the attack. The assassination was orchestrated by Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels to avenge Gandhi’s decision to send Indian troops to intervene in the country’s civil war in the 1980s.
6. Indira Gandhi: Indira Gandhi had to pay a big price for ordering the Indian army into the Sikhs’ holiest shrine, the Golden temple in Amritsar to stamp out a separatist campaign. She was assassinated on 31 October 1984 by her Sikh bodyguards in retaliation to the infamous military operation. One of the two bodyguards who opened fire on Indira, Beant Singh died immediately as commandos opened fire on him and the other assassin, Satwant Singh. Satwant was later sentenced to death.
7. Madhavrao Scindia: One of Congress’ senior-most leaders, Madhavrao Scindia, was killed in a plane crash on September 30, 2001 along with seven others, that included the pilot, a crew member, an aide and four journalists. Scindia was due to attend Parivartan Yatra, a Congress rally ahead of the elections. The fatal accident took place as 17 minutes before the scheduled to land in Kanpur, the Air Traffic Control lost contact with the plane. The plane subsequently caught fire mid-air and the pilot tried to make an emergency landing in a failed attempt on that fateful day.
8. Sanjay Gandhi: Sanjay Gandhi, the younger son of Indira Gandhi, was killed in a plane crash on June 23, 1980. Sanjay was widely considered to be a successor to his mother, Indira as the Congress president. However, an aerial stunt proved too costly to Sanjay. While flying a new aircraft of the Delhi Flying club, Sanjay attempted an aerobatic manoeuvre over his office but ultimately lost control and the plane crashed. He died instantly from head wounds. Captain Subhash Saxena, the only passenger in the plane, too died in the crash.
9. Lal Bahadur Shastri: Lal Bahadur Shastri died of a heart attack on January 11, 1966 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Shastri died within few hours of signing the historic Joint communique with the President Ayub Khan of Pakistan at Tashkent.
Shastri became the second Prime Minister of India after the death of Jawaharlal Nehru on 27 May 1964. He served the nation as Prime Minister for 19 months and two days i.e. from 9 June 1964 to 11 January 1966, at a very crucial period of independent India. Shastri successfully led the nation during the 22-day war with Pakistan in 1965. He gave the slogan of Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, which led to a rare display of unity in the country during India-Pakistan war.
10. Beant Singh: Punjab’s chief minister Beant Singh was assassinated by a human bomb, Dilawar Singh, at the high security Punjab civil secretariat Aug 31, 1995 in Chandigarh. Singh was largely credited with wiping out terrorism from Punjab by dealing with terrorists with an iron hand along with super cop KPS Gill. The former chief minister’s assassination was a revenge for the alleged human rights violations during the anti-insurgency operations in the state.
11. Haren Pandya: Haren Pandya, a former junior minister in the Gujarat government, was shot dead on March 26, 2003, near a garden in Ahmedabad while on his morning walk. Pandya was also the minister of state for home in the second Keshubhai Patel government March 1998 to October 2001 but was dropped by the succeeding chief minister Narendra Modi from his council of ministers. Pandya’s murder acquired political overtones after his family claimed that it was a political murder. The High Court while slamming CBI’s “botched up and blinkered” investigation into the murder acquitted all 12 accused in August, 2011.
12. Sahib Singh Verma: Former chief minister of Delhi Sahib Singh Verma died in a car accident on June 30, 2007 near Jonaicha khurd, Shahajahanpur on the Jaipur-Delhi highway (NH-8) in Rajasthan. The former union minister was travelling in a Tata Safari that collided with a truck on the highway. Verma, along with his driver and another person travelling in the car were declared brought dead by doctors after the accident. Verma had also served as Labour Minister in the Vajpayee Government.
13. Dorjee Khandu: Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu died in a helicopter crash in May, 2011. The chopper carrying the CM and his team, which was flying over the Sela Pass, was found by a search operation team on May 4, 96 hours after it went missing. Five mutilated bodies and the wreckage of the helicopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister were found. A popular leader, Khandu was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh in 2007. He vigorously pursued development activities particularly for augmenting water supply, electricity, communication facilities, agriculture and livestock development, and setting up schools and hospitals including in far-flung villages of the state.
14. Ganti Mohana Chandra Balayogi: Balayogi was elected into parliament; he became the 12th Speaker of Lok Sabha (March 24, 1998) and again for the 13th Lok Sabha (October 22, 1999). As the Speaker, he chaired the Business Advisory Committee, Rules Committee, General Purposes Committee and Standing Committee of the Conference of Presiding Officers of Legislative Bodies in India, and he presided over the Indian Parliamentary Group, National Group of Inter-Parliamentary Union and India Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Along with these duties, Balayogi headed many Indian Parliamentary Delegations to foreign countries, while hosting visiting countries as well.On March 3, 2002, Balayogi died in crash of a Bell 206 helicopter in Kaikalur, Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh. He was aged 50. G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium was named in his memory.