BHOPAL: Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and BJP veteran Babulal Gaur died at a private hospital in Bhopal on Wednesday morning following prolonged age-related health problems. He was 89.
The octogenarian politician was hospitalised on August 7 following a sudden drop in blood pressure and was put on ventilator support a few days back.
Gaur’s mortal remains were consigned to flames by his grandson Akash Gaur. As a mark of respect to the departed leader, the Congress government in the state declared half working day on Wednesday.
The death was mourned by various political quarters, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
PM Modi tweeted that Gaur had served people for decades and transformed MP.
“From Jana Sangh days, he worked constantly to strengthen our party. As Minister and CM of Madhya Pradesh he undertook many efforts to transform the state,” the PM tweeted.
Born in East UP’s Pratapgarh district on June 2, 1930, Gaur lived in Bhopal since childhood after the British rulers rendered his wrestler father a job in a liquor company in Bhopal for winning a wrestling bout in native Pratapgarh (UP).
He started his political career as a labour union leader in a cloth mill in MP but later turned a social activist under the influence of RSS.
Gaur was elected on a Jan Sangh and later on a BJP ticket a record 10 times between 1974 and 2013 from Govindpura seat — the biggest assembly segment of Bhopal Lok Sabha seat.
Gaur, who held important ministerial portfolios in BJP governments in MP led by Sunderlal Patwa, Uma Bharti and Shivraj Singh Chouhan, became the chief minister in August 2004 when Uma Bharti quit the CM’s post following an arrest warrant issued against her in 1994 Hubli riot case.
He remained in the post till November 29, 2005.
Even in the Chouhan government, Gaur held important portfolios of the home department and urban development before he was dropped from the cabinet on age grounds in June 2016.