Sangh Parivar veteran and former Rajya Sabha member Nanaji Deshmukh passed away here on Saturday at the age of 94.

He breathed his last at the premises of India’s first rural university that he established in this temple town bordering Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, his close associate Sharda Prasad Dwivedi said.

Mr. Deshmukh was unwell for some time due to age-related ailments and had refused to be taken to Delhi for treatment.

The Padma Vibhushan awardee had donated his body for medical research.

Born in Kadoli in Maharashtra’s Parbhani district on October 11, 1916, Mr. Deshmukh founded the Deendayal Research Institute here and was credited for exemplary work in the field of education, health and rural self-reliance.

He was also instrumental in carrying out a social restructuring programme in over 500 villages in both the States.

Mr. Deshmukh established the Chitrakoot Gramodya Vishwavidyalaya here — the country’s first rural university — and was its chancellor.

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