A tiger in Chhattisgarh politics till sting did him in

Senior BJP leader Dilip Singh Judeo died in a private hospital in Gurgaon

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:August 15, 2013 3:23 am

Senior BJP leader and Lok Sabha MP from Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh) Dilip Singh Judeo died in a private hospital in Gurgaon Wednesday at the age of 64 years. He had been admitted at the hospital for over a month because of a liver-related ailment.

Judeo is survived by wife Madhvi and two sons Prabal Pratap Singh and Yudhvir Singh,who is also an MLA from Chandrapur Assembly constituency in Chhattisgarh.

Judeo is credited for having strengthened the BJP’s presence in Chhattisgarh and nearby areas with his contribution to the Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram that worked with tribals. He was sometimes referred to as the ‘Chhattisgarh tiger’.

Judeo was at the forefront of the controversial re-conversion of tribals to Hinduism through his ‘Ghar Vapsi’ programmes. Despite criticism and little support from other party leaders,he would bring converted Christians,wash their feet and facilitate their ‘re-entry’ in highly publicised events.

“He has been at the forefront of ensuring the protection of tribal rights,culture,identity and their socio-economic upliftment across undivided Madhya Pradesh,Jharkhand and Odisha,” BJP general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan said.

In 2003,a sting video published by The Sunday Express showed him accepting money in lieu of some mining rights in the state.

Coming just days before the Assembly polls,the bribe charge damaged his career. “Paisa khuda toh nahin par khuda ki kasam khuda se kam bhi nahin” — his words in the video as he touches the bundle of currency notes to his forehead became a part of Chhattisgarh political lore. Almost set to become the chief minister in the event of BJP’s win,he was forced to resign and since then could never really get back the clout he had in the state politics.

Judeo was elected to the Rajya Sabha thrice — in 1992,1998 and 2004 – before being elected to the current Lok Sabha in 2009. He served as the Minister of State,Ministry of Environment and Forest in the NDA government in 2003.

Top BJP leaders Rajnath Singh and Narendra Modi offered their condolences soon after the news of Judeo’s demise. “Sad to know the demise of former Union Minister & BJP leader Shri Dilip Singh Judeo. Condolences to his family,” Narendra Modi tweeted. BJP president Rajnath Singh said,“His death has left a big void in Chhattisgarh state politics”.

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