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V.P. Singh passes away

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Anita Joshua

NEW DELHI: The former Prime Minister, Vishwanath Pratap Singh, died here on Thursday afternoon after a prolonged illness. He was 77. He is survived by his wife, Sita Kumari, and two sons. His mortal remains will be taken to Allahabad on Friday for the last rites on Saturday.

Mr. Singh breathed his last at 2.45 p.m. at the Apollo Hospital. According to a hospital statement, he had been suffering from multiple myeloma and chronic renal failure for long. He had been undergoing treatment at the Apollo Hospital, the Mayo Clinic (U.S.) and the Bombay Hospital for over 12 years.

Later in the day, the Union Cabinet met to mourn him.

Mr. Singh was Prime Minister from December 2, 1989 till November 10, 1990, when his Janata Dal-led coalition government fell after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew support over the arrest of leader L.K. Advani in Bihar during the course of his Rath Yatra. He will be remembered most for ordering the implementation of the Mandal Commission recommendations favouring reservation for the OBCs in government jobs.

Born on June 25, 1931, Mr. Singh began his political career with the Congress and was a Minister in Indira Gandhi’s Council of Ministers before he became Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh on June 9, 1980. He returned to the Centre thereafter and was Finance Minister in Rajiv Gandhi’s government before the two fell apart over the Bofors scandal.

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