Former Union Minister Jaswant Singh passes away
Jaswant SinghFile photo

Former Union Minister Jaswant Singh passes away

New Delhi, September 27, 2020

Former Union Minister Jaswant Singh, who had served in the Cabinet of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and handled at various times the portfolios of External Affairs, Defence and Finance, passed away here today after remaining in coma for more than six years following a head injury in a fall at his residence in August 2014.

He was 82.

"Major Jaswant Singh (Retd), former Cabinet Minister, passed away at 6.55 a.m. today. He was admitted on 25 June and was being treated for Sepsis with Multiorgan Dysfunction Syndrome. He had a cardiac arrest this morning. His Covid status is negative," a statement from the Army (Research & Referral) Hospital, where he was being treated, said.

Jaswant Singh, one of the founders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and among its tallest leaders of that time, had also served for some time as Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.

However, later, he felt sidelined in the organisation and was expelled for six years by the party on March 29, 2014, following his decision to contest the Parliamentary elections as an independent candidate after it declined to field him as its nominee from Barmer in Rajasthan. As it turned out, he lost that election to Colonel Sona Ram of the BJP.

He had had another brush with the party's leadership in 2009 when he was expelled after seemingly praising Muhammad Ali Jinnah in his book, Jinnah -- India, Partition, Independence. He was later reinducted into the party.

Jaswant Singh, a former Indian Army officer, was hospitalised in the early hours of August 8, 2014 after suffering severe head injuries in a fall at his residence and remained in a coma since then. He had undergone a surgery soon after admission to the Army (Research & Referral) Hospital here soon after being admitted there but never recovered from that fall, forcing him out of active politics at the age of 76.

Reports at that time had said that members of Singh's family had taken him to the hospital after finding him lying on the floor of the house in an unconscious state.

"Examination at the hospital showed him to be in coma, with signs of ‘raised intracranial tension and a haematoma scalp’. Urgent CT scan of the head showed ‘an acute subdural haematoma with mass effect, a midline shift and contusion of the brain substance’. A lifesaving ‘decompressive hemicraniectomy’ was done," a statement issued on August 8, 2014 by the hospital said.

Sources close to Singh's family said at that time that he had suffered the injuries after he slipped and fell at his residence around 11.30 pm on the previous night.

On October 17, 2018, Manvendra Singh, Jaswant Singh's son, quit the BJP and joined the Congress, ahead of the Assembly elections in Rajasthan.

Then an MLA from Sheo in Barmer, Manvendra Singh, a former Lok Sabha member, quit the BJP in September, upset over the sidelining of his father in the party ever since the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in which he was not given a party ticket

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh were among those who condoled Jawant Singh's passing away.

"Spoke to Shri Manvendra Singh and expressed condolences on the unfortunate demise of Shri Jaswant Singh Ji. True to his nature, Jaswant Ji fought his illness with immense courage for the last six years," Modi said on micro-blogging site Twitter.

"Jaswant Singh Ji will be remembered for his unique perspective on matters of politics and society. He also contributed to the strengthening of the BJP. I will always remember our interactions. Condolences to his family and supporters," he 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," he added.

Rajnath Singh said, "Shri 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."


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