Veteran BJP leader and two-time Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Sunderlal Patwa passed away on Wednesday after a brief illness. 92-year-old Patwa, a former union minister, suffered a heart attack in the morning and was rushed to hospital where he breathed his last, Bansal Hospital’s Executive Director Dr Skand Trivedi said.
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Patwa’s wife had died a few years back and they had no children. His nephew Surendra Patwa is Minister for Culture and Tourism in the present BJP-led state government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to arrive here this evening to pay his respects to the departed leader, a senior state official told PTI.
Condoling his death, Modi said in a tweet, “(I am) saddened on the passing away of Sunderlal Patwa. He was a hardworking & dedicated leader whose good work as MP CM will be remembered”. He said Patwa strengthened the BJP and was always admired by workers.
As a mark of respect to Patwa, the MP government has announced a three-day state mourning. “The national flag will be flown half-mast for three days from today throughout the state and no official and cultural programmes will be held during the mourning period,” an official from the state Public Relations Department said.
Earlier, soon after getting information about Patwa’s demise, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan rushed to the hospital. Several Cabinet ministers and a large number of BJP leaders also gathered at the hospital. Later, Chouhan condoled the death of the senior BJP leader. In a tweet, he recalled Patwa’s lifelong contribution for the development of Madhya Pradesh and said his death is an irreparable loss to the state.
“It was a coincidence that Patwa ji left us on the death anniversary of Kushabhau Thakre (former BJP president). It is hard to imagine politics of the state without Patwa ji. He was a synonym for clean politics,” Chouhan told reporters. He said Patwa went to sleep last night, but was taken to hospital this morning when he did not wake up till late.
Patwa’s last rites would be held at Kukdeshwar town, the native place of the departed leader, in Neemuch district of the state tomorrow, he said.