Former BJP president Bangaru Laxman died in a corporate hospital here on Saturday afternoon following prolonged illness. He was 75 and survived by wife Susheela who was a member of 14th Lok Sabha from Jalore constituency in Rajasthan, a son and three daughters.

Laxman was in recent past admitted to the hospital for nearly a month owing to respiratory tract infection and discharged after his condition improved. He was again shifted to the hospital three days ago, party sources said and added that he was confined to wheel chair for several years prior to hospitalisation.

He was appointed as the president of BJP in August 2000 but his term was abruptly cut short eight months later as he was involved in a case of bribery that was exposed by news portal Tehelka. He was the first leader of Scheduled Castes to head the BJP. He was also the Minister of State for Railways in 1999-2000 and elected to Rajya Sabha in 1996.

Laxman who was born in Hyderabad led a humble life from his childhood days. He was attracted to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the age of 12 and pursued scholarly work thereafter. He worked in electricity department, railways and the office of Accountant General before resigning his job and joining Jana Sangh as a fulltime activist in 1969. He was an active trade union leader who headed unions of BHEL, MIDHANI, NFC, FCI and Singareni Collieries.

He was jailed under Maintenance of Internal Security Act during emergency for 16 months. He headed the SC wing of BJP for seven years. He was the convenor of the newly formed State unit of BJP in 1980 and went on to become its president in 1986

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