From YSR Reddy to Rajiv Gandhi to Sanjay Gandhi, India has witnessed several politicians losing their lives to tragic crashes or accidents. Here’s a look at some such leaders:
Gopinath Munde, who was recently appointed as a Union Minister after the BJP was elected to form the government at Centre, was on his way to Delhi airport when an Indica car dashed into his Maruti SX4, leading to his demise. Following the collision, Munde, 64, was rushed to the emergency department of Jai Prakash Narain Apex Trauma Centre at AIIMS. Despite immediate Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and efforts, Munde could not be revived and breathed his last at 7.20 am.
Chhattisgarh Congress leader Mahendra Karma, who is known for organising the Salwa Judum movement, met with a tragic end as he was assassinated by Maoists while returning from a political rally. On May 25, 2013, Karma was shot by Maoists in Darbha region of Chhattisgarh. Two days later, the Maoists claimed responsibility for the killing of the tribal leader, terming it as a ‘punishment for the Salwa Judum founder’.
Vilasrao Deshmukh, who served as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, died due to liver and kidney failure at a private hospital in Chennai. Deshmukh was diagnosed with cirrhosis in 2011, and after undergoing treatment for almost a year, he succumbed to his illness on August 14, 2012. The Congress leader was flown to Chennai from Mumbai on August 6 for a liver transplant, but the person who was supposed to donate his kidney and liver, died the night before the operation was scheduled. Later, on August 14 at 2 pm, Deshmukh breathed his last in the presence of his family.
YS Rajasekhara Reddy
YS Rajasekhara Reddy, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, was travelling in a helicopter on September 2, 2009, when it went missing in the Nallamala forest area. The air traffic controllers lost contact with Reddy’s Bell 430 helicopter while it was passing through the forest area. Following this, a massive search was launched in the region with the cooperation of the Central government, but to no avail. The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed the crash, and death of all five people, including Reddy, on board, on September 3.
Pramod Mahajan, the technocrat leader who was expected to be one of those who would take over the reins of the Bharatiya Janata Party in future, met with a tragic end after his own brother, Pravin Mahajan, shot him on the morning of April 22, 2006. Gunshots wounded his liver and pancreas and after battling for his life for 13 days, the BJP leader finally died of cardiac arrest on May 3, 2006.
Similar to YS Rajasekhara Reddy, GMC Balayogi, who was the Speaker of Lok Sabha, died in a plane crash in Andhra Pradesh. It was on March 3, 2002 when Balayogi’s Bell 206 helicopter crashed in Kaikalur area of Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. He was 50 when he died.
Madhavrao Scindia, who was considered a dynamic face of the Congress party, died on September 30, 2001, in a plane crash in Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh. Scindia’s personal secretary Rupinder Singh, three journalists, and two pilots also died in the crash.
Congress leader Rajesh Pilot, who quit his job as a pilot in the Indian Air Force to join politics, died in a road accident near Jaipur on June 11, 2000. He was survived by his wife Rama Pilot, son Sachin Pilot and daughter Sarika Pilot.
Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on May 21, 1991 while campaigning for a Congress leader at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. During a campaign rally, a woman approached the then Prime Minister and greeted him. She then bent down to touch Rajiv Gandhi’s feet and detonated an explosive-laden belt. The woman who assassinated the Congress leader was identified through a photograph.
Sanjay Gandhi, the son of former prime minister Indira Gandhi, died in an air crash in the national capital on June 23, 1980. Sanjay was performing some stunts while flying an aircraft of the Delhi flying club when he lost control and crashed, leading to his spot death.