Former cabinet minister, founding member of BJP, Jaswant Singh dies at 82

Former union minister Jaswant Singh outside Parliament. File Photo (PTI)
Former Defence Minister Jaswant Singh passed away on Sunday at the age of 82. The former Indian Army officer served in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's cabinet. He held the portfolios of defence, finance and external affairs in the Atal Bihar Vajpayee cabinet between 1998 and 2004.

He had slipped into a state of coma after suffering a fall in the bathroom of his residence on August 7, 2014.

"It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Hon'ble Major Jaswant Singh (Retd), former Cabinet Minister of Government of India at 0655 hours on 27 September 2020. He was admitted on 25 Jun 2020 and being treated for Sepsis with Multiorgan Dysfunction Syndrome and effects of Severe Head Injury old (Optd) had a Cardiac arrest this morning," the hospital said in a statement.

Despite the best efforts of the attending team of specialists to resuscitate him, he could not be revived and passed away, it added.

His funeral will take place later today at Jodhpur in Rajasthan, family sources said. 

Reacting to the news of his death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "Jaswant Singh Ji served our nation diligently, first as a soldier and later during his long association with politics. During Atal Ji’s government, he handled crucial portfolios and left a strong mark in the worlds of finance, defense, and external affairs. Saddened by his demise."

He further added that Jaswant Singh will be remembered for his unique perspective on matters of politics and society. "He also contributed to the strengthening of the BJP. I will always remember our interactions. Condolences to his family and supporters," Modi tweeted. 

Then External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh (C) looks on as British Prime Minister Tony Blair (left) gestures at A B Vajpayee (right) during a presser , in New Delhi in 2001 | File Photo: Reuters

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed his grief said, "Deeply pained by the passing away of veteran BJP leader & former Minister, Shri Jaswant Singh ji. He served the nation in several capacities including the charge of Raksha Mantri. He distinguished himself as an effective Minister and Parliamentarian." 

Jaswant Sigh was elected to the Rajya Sabha for five terms on the BJP ticket and held some of the key positions in the BJP's term under Vajpayee. He also served as a deputy chairman of the now-defunct Planning Commission and is known for representing India firmly in the aftermath of the nuclear test in 1998.  

Singh had a fallout with the BJP during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when he was not given a ticket, and contested as an independent candidate. He was later expelled from the party. 

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