Gujarat’s former finance minister, Congress MP and veteran industrial labour activist Sanat Mehta died in Vadodara on Thursday evening. He was 90. Mehta was admitted to hospital following a cardiac arrest late on Tuesday and was on life support.
Earlier in the day, there was some confusion about his death. Shortly after 10 am, Mehta’s son, Sheetal, announced, “My father has left the world. The funeral will take place at Bahuchraji (crematorium) at 5 pm today.” Emails were sent by his personal assistant, Zahur Ahmed, at 11 am about the death.
A little after noon, both Congress and BJP leaders arrived at Mehta’s house. PCC chief Bharatsinh Solanki and Opposition leader Shankarsinh Vaghela bore wreaths on behalf of AICC president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi’s political advisor Ahmed Patel.
At the crematorium, a pile of sandalwood was neatly stacked next to a ready pyre, with several well-wishers pouring in from various parts of the state, especially Bhavnagar where Mehta came from.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, CM Anandiben Patel, former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia were among those who sent their condolence messages on Twitter and social media.
However, when Mehta was brought home in an ambulance, the waiting visitors were surprised to find him breathing. Immediately, the wreaths and floral bouquets were tucked away. As Mehta reportedly showed signs of recovery, the family waited for a “miracle”.
About 1:30 pm, a doctor declared that Mehta’s condition was “improving” as his blood pressure and critical parameters were stable.
About half-an-hour later, Mehta’s family declared that he had “miraculously survived” and called off the funeral. “Thank God. My father has miraculously survived and is improving after he was brought home. Please ignore my earlier message,” was the new message from Sheetal.
Family sources said the earlier message about his death was sent after doctors advised the family to take Mehta off life support. But in the evening, at 6:40 pm, Mehta was declared dead.