Former vice president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat is dead


New Delhi : Former vice president Bhairon Singh Shekhawat died at a hospital here Saturday, Bharatiya Janata Party officials said. He was 86.

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Shekhawat, who was three-time Rajasthan chief minister, was admitted to the Sawai Man Singh Hospital here Thursday after he complained of breathing problems caused by his lung infection.

The BJP stalwart was put on life support system early Saturday and he was declared dead at 11.10 a.m., hospital sources said.

He is survived by his wife Suraj Kanwar and a daughter. Shekhawat’s wife and son-in-law Narpat Singh Rajvee, a BJP legislator were present at the hospital.

Born Oct 23, 1923 in Khachriyawas village in Rajathan’s Sikar district, Shekhawat served as chief minister three times – from 1977 to 1980, 1990 to 1992, and 1993 to 1998.

After completing high school, he could not pursue higher studies due to the untimely death of his father. He then worked as a farmer and later joined the police force too.

Following the death of vice president Krishan Kant, Shekhawat was elected to a five-year term for the post. He was the country’s 11th vice president from August 2002 to July 2007.

In 2007 he lost the presidential election to Pratibha Patil.

Popularly called “Rajasthan Ka Ek hi Singh” (The only Singh of Rajasthan), he was one of the most popular politicians of the state. He joined politics in 1952 and was a member of first Rajasthan legislative assembly.

He was one of the closest confidantes of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the BJP.