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Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde dies in car accident

New Delhi (PTI): Rural Development Minister and the OBC face of BJP in Maharashtra Gopinath Munde died apparently of shock and cardiac arrest suffered during a road accident early this morning.

64-year-old Munde, who made his entry into the Union Cabinet for the first time after the Lok Sabha polls, was on his way to the airport when his car was hit by another vehicle at Prithviraj road-Tughlak road roundabout in the heart of the capital, said Union Minster Nitin Gadkari.

“Munde was brought to the emergency department of Jai Prakash Narain Apex Trauma Centre, AIIMS at 6:30 AM by his personal assistant and driver. Munde was sitting in the backseat of his car which was hit by another car or any other vehicle at around 6:20 AM from the side he was sitting,” Dr Amit Gupta of the Trauma Centre told reporters.

“On his arrival at the Trauma Centre, there was no spontaneous breathing, no blood pressure, no pulse, no cardiac activity. So immediately Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) was started and continued for the next 15 minutes. Despite resuscitative measures, Munde could not be revived and was declared dead at 7:20 AM,” he said.

The doctor said, “Munde was hypertensive and a sugar patient. He was already taking medicines. Right now there are no major external injuries on his body. We cannot say anything but clinically we might say that he had a sudden cardiac death”.

The body has been shifted to the mortuary for postmortem. A board has been formulated by the head of forensics to conduct the postmortem.

As it is a medico-legal cause the reason for the death can only be ascertained after postmortem, the doctor said.

Munde’s secretary S Nair said the Union Minister received a huge shock after the accident and apparently suffered a massive heart attack.

A senior police official said the offending vehicle was an Indica car which jumped the traffic signal at Aurobindo Chowk and collided with the Maruti Suzuki SX 4 in which Munde was travelling towards Safdarjung road from Prithviraj road.

The Indica was coming towards Tughlaq road, a little over a km from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official residence, and hit Munde’s car toward’s the passenger side where Munde was sitting, he said, adding Munde fell on the seat immediately after the car was hit.

The driver of the Indica car was detained from the spot and later arrested by police.

Police said Munde had some minor aberrations on his nose.

After the accident, Munde sought water and asked his driver to take him to the hospital, police said.

Munde had only last night attended a meeting of the Union Council of Ministers called by the Prime Minister and was proceeding to Mumbai for work when the accident occurred.

He is survived by his wife and three daughters, one of whom is an MLA from Parli in Maharashtra’s Beed district.

A brother-in-law of slain BJP leader Pramod Mahajan, Munde hailed from a poor family in the backward Marathwada region and was brought into politics by the late BJP leader Vasantrao Bhagwat, who also groomed several other leaders including Pramod Mahajan.

He played a crucial role in cobbling alliance of the RPI, Swabhimani Shetkari Paksh and Rashtriya Samaj Paksh with the Shiv Sena-BJP in the state.

Munde was recently caught in a row over his educational qualifications with Congress alleging that he “graduated” in 1976 from a college established in 1978.

Condoling his death, Prime Minister Modi said he was extremely saddened and shocked by demise of “my friend” Munde.

As a mark of respect to Munde, the national flag is being flown at half mast in Delhi, state capitals and Union Territories today.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who was the first to reach AIIMS, said doctors tried their best to revive him.

Union Highways and Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, who was also there at the hospital, said Munde will be cremated in his native village in Beed in Maharashtra tomorrow.

His body will be kept at the BJP headquarters between 12:30 PM and 1:30 PM before being shifted to Latur.

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