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Pramaod Mahajan is no more; cremation tomorrow

By Staff
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Mumbai, May 3 (UNI) BJP's master strategist and trouble-shooter Pramod Mahajan, who strode like a colossus on the country's political firmament, died here today, losing his 12-day battle for survival after suffering gunshot wounds inflicted by his own sibling.

The 56-year-old Mahajan, known for his managerial skills and political networking, was declared dead at the Hinduja Hospital here this afternoon. Hospital chief executive officer Dr Pramod Lele said Mahajan breathed his last at 1610 hrs.

The BJP general secretary, who was shot point-blank allegedly by his younger brother, Pravin, 45, at his Worli home here on April 22, died fighting multiple organ failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) after three surgeries. He is survived by his wife Rekha, son Rahul and daughter Poonam.

The untimely death of the wily leader, who never shied away from taking adversaries head-on or courting controversies, shocked the nation with top leaders cutting across political lines hailing him as ''a youth icon and a charismatic leader imbued with exceptional organisational skills and an uncanny understanding of political realities''.

President APJ Abdul Kalam, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, several Cabinet ministers, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, BJP leaders L K Advani and Rajnath Singh and RSS chief K S Sudershan were among those who condoled the death of the BJP's trouble-shooter.

The mortal remains of Mahajan will be consigned to flames with full state honours at the Shivaji Park cremation ground in Dadar tomorrow. Mr Advani has already reached Mumbai, while other leaders are on their way to the city for the funeral. Mr Shekhawat will also be present.

However, members of Pravin's family will not be attending the last rites. Pravin, who was today sent to judicial custody by a local court, has been informed of the death of his brother by the police and also by the jail authorities after he was moved there this evening.

Maharashtra BJP president Nitin Gadkari said the funeral procession will start at 1000 hrs tomorrow from the residence of Mahajan at Worli where he was shot at in his 15th floor apartment at Poorna building.

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