Former union textile minister Kashiram Rana, who had recently quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and joined hands with the former Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel in his tirade against Chief Minister Narendra Modi, died here on Friday following a massive heart attack. He was 74.
A six-time member of the Lok Sabha, representing Surat since 1989 till he was denied the BJP ticket in the 2009 Parliamentary elections, Mr. Rana was in Ahmedabad to attend the first executive committee meeting of the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP), which was floated by Mr. Patel last month to contest the coming State Assembly elections. Mr. Rana, who resigned from the BJP along with Mr. Patel only last month, was named one of the vice-presidents of the GPP. The executive meeting, scheduled to be held in Gandhinagar, however, was cancelled following Mr. Rana’s death.
His body was taken to his home town Surat where he was cremated in the evening. Textile minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet at the Centre, Mr. Rana was also a member of the Gujarat Assembly from 1975 to 1980 and mayor of Surat from 1985 to 1987. However, since 2009, he was being increasingly sidelined in the party affairs in the state provoking him to quit the BJP to join hands with the anti-Modi forces.
Rich tributes were paid in memory of Mr. Rana who had remained an important public figure in the State for nearly five decades. The GPP president and his long time associate, Mr. Patel said his party had “lost a valuable guide but we will still keep the struggle for values and truth initiated by him burning.”
State government spokesperson Jaynarayan Vyas said the void created by Mr. Rana’s demise in Gujarat’s public life will be felt for a long time. Expressing his grief, Chief Minister Narendra Modi, said, “Coming from a simple family, he rose to great heights and spent his life in the service of the people.” Mr. Modi also went to Surat and placed a wreath on his body and consoled the members of the bereaved family.
Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly, Shaktisinh Gohil said Mr. Rana was a “foot soldier and was a grass root level politician.”