M A I N   N E W S

Mahajan dead after 12-day battle for life
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, May 3
BJP General Secretary Pramod Mahajan, who was shot at by his younger brother Pravin on April 22, died at Mumbai’s Hinduja Hospital today. According to Dr Pramod Lele, CEO, Hinduja Hospital, the end came at 4.10 pm.

Mahajan’s last rites will be performed at the Shivaji Park crematorium in Central Mumbai tomorrow.

Mahajan, 56, is survived by his wife Rekha, son Rahul, daughter Poonam, mother Prabhavati, brothers Pravin and Prakash and sisters Pradnya and Pratima.

“It is with deep regret that we have to announce that Pramod Mahajan, who had been battling for life for the past 12 days, succumbed to his bullet injuries,” said Dr Lele said.

According to doctors at the hospital, Mahajan’s condition took a turn for the worse this morning following complications caused by Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome which developed four days ago. Mahajan suffered a cardiac arrest and multi-organ failure this morning. After he stopped responding to treatment, doctors attending on him gave up hope and allowed Mahajan’s immediate family to sit with him at the ICU till the end came.

Shortly before Mahajan’s health took a turn for the worse today, doctors at Hinduja Hospital conducted a bronchoscopy on him to identify the cause of his breathing problems. Bronchoscopy is generally used to diagnose lung diseases by collecting tissue or mucus (sputum) samples for biopsy and to determine lung cancer. A bronchoscopy is also used to remove objects blocking the airway and to evaluate and treat growths in the airway. It also controls bleeding (hemoptysis).

Senior BJP leaders who were alerted on Mahajan’s condition rushed to Mumbai to be with the senior leader during his last moments.

Mahajan’s colleague Sushma Swaraj rushed to Mumbai from Chennai as did others. Mr L K Advani cut short his Bharat Suraksha Yatra to rush to Mumbai. Others who visited Mahajan included Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray and son Uddhav.

According to BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, Mahajan’s mortal remains would be taken to the party headquarters at Nariman Point in downtown Mumbai after postmortem. “Mahajan’s mortal remains would lay in state at the party office. Later Mahajan’s body would be taken to his residence at Poorna Society at Worli where people would be able to pay their respects.”

Mahajan’s last rites would be performed at the Shivaji Park crematorium tomorrow. Senior leaders cutting across party lines are scheduled to attend the funeral. The Congress is sending a delegation, party spokesman Rajiv Shukla said.

The BJP leader was shot at by his younger brother Pravin in Mumbai at around 8 am on April 22.

In all ,Pravin fired three bullets at Mahajan with his 9 mm Browning revolver at point blank range. After shooting Mahajan, Pravin rushed to the Worli police station where he surrendered. According to the police, Pravin felt humiliated by his brother and therefore decided to kill him.

Doctors from the Army and specialists from Australia and the UK were attending on Mahajan.

A shocked BJP has gone into mourning and its flag at headquarters was lowered at half mast. Condolence books have been opened to allow the party faithful to pay their respects to the departed leader.

“I am shocked. It’s a great loss not just for BJP but for the country as a whole as you will not have a leader of his dynamism , energy and promise,” senior party leader and former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha said.

Senior party leader and former president M. Venkaiah Naidu said, who described Mahajan as a promising, dynamic and charismatic leader of the party, said, “The untimely demise of BJP leader Pramod Mahajan is a great loss to the party and the nation.” The vacuum created by him is difficult to fill.”

“It is a big blow to all of us. He was more of an elder brother to the whole generation of young leaders like me,” said Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

“He was a pillar of great strength for the party. He played a major role in keeping the NDA coalition together. His demise will hurt the party at this crucial hour,” Mr V.K. Malhotra said.

Judicial custody for Pravin

Meanwhile, Pravin Mahajan was today remanded to judicial custody till May 17.

Pravin, who was arrested on April 22, was produced before a Magistrate in a Bhoiwada court amid tight security.


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