Monday, June 12, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Rajesh Pilot dies in road accident

JAIPUR, June 11 (UNI, PTI) — Senior Congress leader and former Internal Affairs Minister Rajesh Pilot was today killed in a road accident at Bhandana in his parliamentary constituency Dausa, about 50 km from here.

Mr Pilot (57) was reportedly in the driver’s seat when his car collided head-on with a Rajasthan State Road Transport bus around 4.30 pm. He battled for life for the next 45 minutes before being declared dead by doctors at Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Hospital at around 5.15 pm.

Hospital Superintendent N.K. Mathur told reporters that Mr Pilot was brought here with multiple head injuries and remained in coma for some time before breathing his last. Doctors operated upon him, but all attempts to save him failed.

He was coming to Jaipur after a day-long visit to his constituency to catch the 5.30 pm Jet Airways flight to Delhi. He had come to Jaipur in the morning.

Mr Pilot fell on the road when his car hit the bus. His personal security officer Hari Singh, party MLA Mahendra Meena and two others were in the car. Hari Singh died on the spot, while the other three were seriously injured.

Rajasthan Governor Anshuman Singh, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Union Agriculture Minister Nitish Kumar, who was on a day-visit to Jaipur, state Congress chief Dr Girija Vyas and state Home Minister Gulab Singh Shekhawat reached the hospital, where a large crowd had gathered.

The country has lost a promising leader and the Congress a stalwart, party President Sonia Gandhi said on the death of Rajesh Pilot.

Describing Pilot as a leader who was adored even by his adversaries, she said: “Death snatched a promising leader from us. Rajesh Pilot was a man of both courage and conviction and he was known for expressing his views for matters of national importance out of his own conviction.’’

She also got in touch with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

Meanwhile, Mr Rajesh Pilot’s wife Mrs Rama Pilot rushed to Jaipur. Mrs Gandhi accompanied her to the airport. The body will be flown to Delhi tonight for cremation there tomorrow, official sources said.

Mrs Gandhi has cancelled her programme in Rajasthan scheduled for tomorrow.

new Delhi: President K.R. Narayanan, Vice-President Krishan Kant, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and leaders from every political party today expressed shock at the death of Rajesh Pilot and said a promising career had been cruelly cut short in its prime.

In his condolence message, Mr Narayanan said Mr Pilot was one of the most active parliamentarians and dynamic personalities in public life.

“A career of great promise and significance has been cut short in its prime. Mr Pilot was a staunch nationalist who identified himself with the aspirations of the people, especially deprived sections of our society.

Mr Krishan Kant, presently in Bulgaria, expressed deep shock and prayed for the family for forebearance and courage in the face of an irreparable loss.

Former Prime Minister V.P. Singh expressed grief over the death of Rajesh Pilot.

“The news has come as a shock to me as he was a personal friend of mine”, he told PTI in Mumbai.

“At this moment of grief, we stand by the bereaved family”, he said.

Expressing shock over the death of Rajesh Pilot Mr Vajpayee said his fighter spirit would be remembered by all.

“I am deeply shocked over the death of senior Congress leader Rajesh pilot in a road accident. He was with us till yesterday. We are offering homage to him today”, Prime Minister told reporters at his residence.

Lok Sabha Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi, expressing disbelief at the tragedy, said he would miss Pilot’s constructive approaches on various issues in Lok Sabha debates.

Mr Advani, who immediately drove to the AICC headquarters on learning of pilot’s death, said “in the death of Mr Pilot, the country has lost a great patriot and I a personal friend. I met him only last evening when along with a group of senior Congress leaders he had come to meet me in north block. Its extremely painful to learn that he is no more.”

Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh said Pilot could understand the plight of the downtrodden because he himself had a humble beginning. His death had left a big void, they said.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley recalled that Mr Pilot was one of the most dynamic among the post-Independence generation leaders. “He made significant contribution to public life and his death at this age makes it all the more tragic,” he noted.

Former Delhi Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Sahib Singh Verma, while regretting that the nation has lost an up-and-coming leader, said he was a “real ray of hope for Congress workers.”

Janata Dal General Secretary Mohan Prakash said the nation, especially the farmers, lost a dynamic personality in Mr Pilot’s untimely death.

An IAF fighter pilot turned politician, 55-year-old Rajesh Pilot, who died today in a road accident near Dausa in Rajasthan, was a former high profile Union Minister of State for Home (Internal Security).

Born in a poor family on February 10, 1945, he lost his Armyman father Jai Dayal Singh at an early age and was brought up by his brother who sold milk in posh localities in Delhi.

Receiving his BA from Meerut University, he also graduated in flying from Delhi. Joining the IAF, he flew fighter aircraft and transport aircraft during his 15 years of service.

However, it was not long before he began nurturing political aspirations. Joining the Congress, he got a ticket to contest the 1980 Lok Sabha elections. Winning his maiden venture, Mr Pilot was elected in 1985 but lost in 1989. Returning to the Lok Sabha in 1991, he never looked back and was re-elected in every election thereafter.

In 1999 Lok Sabha election, he defeated R.K. Sharma of the BJP by a slender margin of 6,902 votes.

Rajesh Pilot got his ministerial break in the Rajiv Gandhi government in which he was made Minister of State for Transport during 1985-86. Within a year, he was given independent charge of Surface Transport as Minister of State, the portfolio he held till 1989.

In the P. V. Narasimha Rao government during 1991-96, Pilot held independent charge of the ministries of Communications and Home (Internal Security). But differences with his senior colleague, Home Minister S. B. Chavan saw him being shifted to the Ministry of Environment. Seen as a man to be watched for the future, he proved himself to be a bold member of the Congress, unafraid of airing his views in the party fora.

Rajesh Pilot also authored an autobiography of sorts-- "Flight to Parliament". He made rapid strides in his party career, becoming member of the powerful Congress Working Committee in 1992.

With his farming and defence background, Rajesh Pilot founded "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan Trust", a charitable organisation for the welfare of farmer, ex-servicemen and weaker sections of society.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |