New Delhi, June 3 :
Tragedy struck the week-old government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi when Gopinath Munde, the union rural development minister, died Tuesday after an early morning road accident in central Delhi.
Munde, 64, who was once deputy chief minister of Maharashtra, was going to the Indira Gandhi International Airport in his Maruti Suzuki SX4 car when was hit by a Tata Indica on Prithviraj Road around 6.20 a.m., police said. An injured Munde was rushed to the AIIMS Trauma Centre nearby where he apparently died of a cardiac arrest.
“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,” a Delhi Police official said.
AIIMS public relations officer Amit Gupta told IANS: “There were no grievous external injuries. It seems, he had a cardiac arrest after the impact”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Munde as “a true mass leader” and said he was “extremely saddened and shocked” by the minister’s death. Modi was one of the first to be informed of the tragedy.
Besides rural development, Munde, a farmer’s son, also held the portfolios of panchayati raj as well as drinking water and sanitation – all crucial portfolios from the perspective of rural India.
Following a post-mortem at the AIIMS, the body was brought to the BJP headquarters at Ashoka Road. The body was accompanied by senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari and members of Munde’s immediate family, who had rushed to the capital after hearing of the accident.
According to doctors at AIIMS Trauma Centre, where the injured 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,” 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.
Munde was brought to the hospital by his personal assistant and his driver at 6.30 a.m., 10 minutes after the accident, he said.
Gadkari said that Munde’s body will be taken to Marathwada (Maharashtra) and the last rites will take place Wednesday.
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. Police are checking whether he had consumed alcohol the night before.
RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav termed Munde’s death as “a great loss” for the party, state and national politics.
The news of Munde’s death shocked Maharashtra’s political circles and top political leaders and activists caught flights, trains to reach New Delhi.