New Delhi: Former Union minister Jaswant Singh, a close associate of former prime minister, late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, died here on Sunday following a long spell of illness. He was 82.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other top BJP leaders paid rich tributes to Singh, saying that he served India diligently and will be remembered for his unique perspective on matters of politics and society.
Singh, a former Army officer, had been ill after a fall at his home in August 2014 and was admitted to the Army Research and Referral Hospital. He had been in and out of the hospital and was admitted again in June this year.
“It is with profound grief that we inform about the sad demise of Hon’ble Major Jaswant Singh (Retd), former Cabinet Minister of Government of India at 0655 hours on 27 September 2020. He was admitted on 25 Jun 2020 and being treated for Sepsis with Multiorgan Dysfunction Syndrome and effects of Severe Head Injury old (Optd) had a Cardiac arrest this morning,” the hospital said in a statement.
Despite the best efforts of the attending team of specialists to resuscitate him, he could not be revived and passed away, it added.
His funeral will take place later today at Jodhpur in Rajasthan, family sources said.
Condoling his death, Modi said, “Jaswant Singh Ji served our nation diligently, first as a soldier and later during his long association with politics. During Atal Ji’s Government, he handled crucial portfolios and left a strong mark in the worlds of finance, defence and external affairs. Saddened by his demise.”
Singh, considered close to Vajpayee and veteran leader L.K. Advani, held defence, finance and external affairs portfolios in the Vajpayee government.
A defining moment in Singh’s career was the Kandahar hijack episode when he was external affairs minister. The seven-day siege ended with India handing over five terrorists, including Maulana Masood Azhar.
He had fought the 2014 Lok Sabha election as an independent candidate after the BJP did not give him ticket, but lost.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Jaswant Singh served the nation in several capacities and distinguished himself as an effective minister and parliamentarian.
“Jaswant Singh ji would be remembered for his intellectual capabilities and stellar record in service to the nation. He also played a key role in strengthening the BJP in Rajasthan. Condolences to his family and supporters in this sad hour. Om Shanti,” Singh said.
(With PTI inputs)