Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Bihar and four-time Buxar MP Lalmuni Choubey died after a brief illness at New Delhi’s AIIMS on Friday.
Vajpayee used to stay at Choubey’s house during his visits to the state and the Choubey-Vajpayee camaraderie used to be the talk of Bihar politics in the 1990s.
Choubey, who enjoyed clout in the BJP set-up from the 1980s till early 2000, was a prominent upper caste Brahmin leader from Shahabad region. After leaders like Sushil Kumar Modi, Nand Kishore Yadav and Ashwini Kumar Choubey took centrestage in state politics, Choubey moved to national politics and represented Buxar in Parliament four times till he lost to RJD’s Jagdanand Singh in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls by more than 2,000 votes.
But the party had denied him a ticket for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, upsetting him deeply. The ticket went to Ashwini Kumar Choubey, who won the Buxar seat.
Even then PM candidate Narendra Modi had failed to persuade him, as the senior leader had threatened to campaign against Narendra Modi and filed his nomination from Buxar as an Independent candidate.
He later withdrew from the electoral race following an intervention by senior BJP leaders, including L K Advani.
Top Bihar BJP leaders termed Choubey’s death “a huge loss to state politics”.
BJP legislature party leader Sushil Kumar Modi said, “Bihar has lost a true politician and a committed leader. He would be always remembered for his austerity and simplicity. His death has caused a big loss and vacuum in BJP politics.”