Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Praveen Rashtrapal died following a cardiac arrest on Thursday in New Delhi. He was 77. Rashtrapal, a prominent Dalit political leader from Gujarat, was recently in news for gathering state Dalit MPs across party line to protest certain “anti-reservation” remarks made by a Gujarat High Court judge.
A native of Muwada village in Gandhinagar district, Rashtrapal is survived by three daughters and a son. He was an assistant commissioner in the Income Tax department before he plunged into politics.
An AICC secretary, who was also party in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, Rashtrapal was associated with the trade union movement of Income Tax employees.
The Dalit leader was elected to the 13th Lok Sabha in 1999, and was a member of the Upper House from April 2006 to April 2012.
He was re-elected in April 2012. He was also member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on 2G scam in the previous Lok Sabha.
Following his demise, Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned for the day.
Many senior leaders paid homage to Rashtrapal, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gujarat Governor O P Kohli, Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi’s political advisor Ahmed Patel and Gujarat leader of Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela.
Condoling the Congress MP’s death, the Prime Minister tweeted: “As a trade unionist & subsequently as a leader, Shri Rashtrapal remained sensitive to concerns & aspirations of the poor & marginalised.”
The funeral is scheduled for Friday in Ahmedabad.