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Rediff.com  » News » Congress leader Gurudas Kamat dies

Congress leader Gurudas Kamat dies

Source: PTI
Last updated on: August 22, 2018 21:09 IST
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Congress veteran Gurudas Kamat, a Nehru-Gandhi family loyalist who was known for his forthrightness throughout his career spanning over four decades, died in New Delhi on Wednesday after suffering a heart attack, family sources said. He was 63.

Kamat was taken to Primus Hospital in Chanakyapuri at around 7 am after he complained of breathlessness, but he died on the way, they said.

A five-time member of Parliament from Mumbai, he was first elected to Lok Sabha at the age of 30 and was the Union minister of state for home affairs with the additional charge of communications and information technology from 2009 till 2011, when he resigned.

 

As an All India Congress Committee general secretary, Kamat had handled the party affairs for the crucial western state of Gujarat, besides Rajasthan, and Union Territories of Dadra, Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu. However, in April last year he resigned from all party posts after apparently being sidelined by the party leadership under Rahul Gandhi.

Congress leaders expressed shock at the demise of the leader who was at the AICC headquarters on Tuesday and had held meetings with senior party leaders including Ahmed Patel.

He also held a public meeting in Ghatkopar in eastern Mumbai on Sunday.

Kamat had wished people 'Eid Mubarak' on Twitter on Tuesday night. His last tweet was at 11.44 pm wishing happiness on the occasion of Eid-Al-Azha.

The sources said he was given tea by his staff in the morning. He complained of sudden breathlessness and was immediately rushed to the hospital by his driver, they said.

He was alone at his Vasant Enclave private residence at the time. His family arrived from Mumbai later and his son Sunil took the body back to Mumbai in a Jet Airways evening flight.

The body was being taken to his residence in Mumbai and the cremation will take place on Thursday in the city, the family sources said.

United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi visited the hospital and paid her last respects to the departed leader.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi expressed sadness over Kamath's death, saying it was a 'massive blow' to the party.

'The sudden passing away of senior leader Gurudas Kamat ji, is a massive blow to the Congress family,' he tweeted.

'Gurudas ji helped build the Congress in Mumbai and was greatly respected and admired by all. My condolences to his family in their time of grief. May his soul rest in peace,' he said.

Former president Pranab Mukherjee mourned the death of his collegaue of many years.

'Shocked and pained at the sudden and untimely demise of Shri Gurudas Kamat. A colleague in the government and the party for many years, his passing away at such young age is tragic,' he said in a tweet.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh described Kamat as a great Parliamentarian and an efficient minister. "His services will be remembered for a long time to come," Singh said.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also expressed their anguish.

'He was a seasoned leader who had also served the nation as the MoS in the MHA. My thoughts are with his family and supporters,' Singh said on Twitter.

Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said Kamat knew the pulse of Mumbaikars and would always voice their concerns in Parliament.

AICC general secretary in-charge of Congress in Maharashtra, Mallikarjun Kharge in a letter to Sunil Kamat, said he was extremely saddened to learn about the demise of his father Gurudas Kamat.

He described him as a dedicated public servant and a mass leader of Maharashtra and said, "He will be missed by the country and Congress party in Maharashtra state".

'An advocate by profession, he started his political career as student NSUI leader and Youth Congress leader. He performed all responsibilities bestowed upon him by the party with great dedication untill his last breath. I pray that the Almighty gives you and your family courage to bear this irreparable loss,' he said in his letter to his son.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, 'Shocked and deeply anguished to learn about the sudden demise of Congress Leader Sh Gurudas Kamat ji. No words are enough to describe the sense of loss. My deepest condolences to his family, friends and followers. I pray for the departed soul.'

Party spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil, at the AICC headquarters, conveyed condolences on the passing away of Kamat on behalf of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and all party members.

A two-minute silence was also observed at the party office.

Kamat was the president of the NSUI from 1976 to 1980 under Indira Gandhi. He was appointed as President of Indian Youth Congress in 1987 by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

He was also a former president of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee.

Kamat was a commerce graduate from the R A Podar College in Mumbai. He had a law degree from the Government Law College.

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