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June 11, 2000
Rajesh Pilot dies in road mishapKamla Bora in Jaipur
Senior Congress politician and former Union minister Rajeshwar Prasad alias Rajesh Pilot died in a road accident near Bhandana in Dausa district of Rajasthan today.
Pilot's vehicle, a Maruti Gypsy, collided head-on with a Rajasthan Roadways bus. Pilot was at the wheel himself.
A member of the Congress Working Committee, Pilot succumbed to his injuries at the Sawai Mansingh Hospital.
Pilot's personal security officer, Hari Singh, was killed on the spot, while three other occupants of the jeep were injured.
The hospital principal and hospital superintendent told reporters that Pilot was brought there with multiple head injuries. He was in a coma when admitted at 5.15 pm. Pilot's pulse and heartbeat had stopped and attempts to revive him failed.
State Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Union Agriculture Minister Nitish Kumar, who was on a day's visit to Jaipur, state Congress chief Dr Girija Vyas and Home Minister Gulab Singh Shaktawat rushed to the hospital on hearing the news. Governor Anshuman Singh also visited the hospital.
As soon as news of the accident spread, a large crowd gathered outside the hospital.
Pilot was en route to Jaipur to catch the evening's flight to Delhi. He was accompanied by party legislator, Mahendra Meena.
Party sources said Pilot fell off his Gypsy when it hit the bus.
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had a telephonic talk with the chief minister about the accident, official sources said.
A flamboyant and energetic grassroot-level leader, Pilot was brought into the late Indira Gandhi got him into politics to help the party following desertions by senior leaders in 1979.
Born on February 10, 1945, in Baidpura village, Ghaziabad district, Uttar Pradesh, he used to sell milk as a young boy. After graduating in Arts, he joined the Indian Air Force, where he rose to become a squadron leader. He resigned from the Air Force following a call by Indira Gandhi.
He was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time from Bharatpur, in 1980, and later shifted to Dausa, leaving Bharatpur to senior party colleague K Natwar Singh.
He soon established a rapport with the electorate in his new constituency, from where he returned to the Lower House again in 1991, 1996 and 1999. He served as minister of state for surface transport in the Rajiv Gandhi government, from 1985 to 1989, when he tasted his first electoral defeat in parliamentary elections.
After winning the 1991 elections, Pilot was made minister of state in the Narasimha Rao government with independent charge of communications. In 1993, he was given charge of internal security.
Additional reportage: UNI.
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