Sushil Kumar Modi, Bihar’s ‘Bhamashah’ and former Deputy Chief Minister, passes away at 72

Reacting to Sushil Modi’s death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and others expressed their deep grief

Updated - May 14, 2024 09:19 am IST

Published - May 13, 2024 10:54 pm IST - Patna

BJP MP Sushil Kumar Modi speaks during an interview with PTI, in New Delhi. File

BJP MP Sushil Kumar Modi speaks during an interview with PTI, in New Delhi. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi passed away in New Delhi on May 13 at the age of 72. He was suffering from cancer

He is survived by his wife Jessie George and two sons, Utkarsh Tathaghat and Akshay Amritanshu.

Read: Sushil Kumar Modi death reactions

A product of the JP Movement led by freedom fighter and socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan, Modi was a tall leader of Bihar politics for a long time. He became Deputy Chief Minister for the first time in 2005 when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had wrested power in the State from Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). Modi will also be remembered for his long stint as Bihar Finance Minister and had earned the sobriquet “Bhamashah” from Mr. Kumar, a reference to the legendary general of medieval warrior king Maharana Pratap Singh.

When Mr. Kumar launched welfare schemes for Mahadalits, such as free bicycles and uniforms for girl students apart from scholarships, many journalists asked him where he would get the money from. Mr. Kumar had then replied, ”I have my Bhamashah who will arrange the funds.”

He was also one of the few leaders to have achieved the feat of being a member of four legislative Houses - Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, the Bihar Assembly and Legislative Council.

During his initial days as Deputy Chief Minister, Modi played the role of bridge between the BJP and Janata Dal (United) leader Mr. Kumar and also played a significant role in building Bihar.

In February 2024, Modi was not fielded by his party in the Rajya Sabha election. In April 2024, he revealed that he was suffering from cancer on his social media account. He said he would be unable to campaign in Lok Sabha polls.

He was also credited for forming the second JD(U)-BJP government in July 2017. His serious charges on then Deputy Chief Minister and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav contributed to Mr. Kumar snapping ties with the RJD.

Reacting on his death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a post on X, “I am deeply saddened by the untimely demise of Sushil Modi, my valuable colleague in the party and my friend for decades. He has played an invaluable role in the rise and success of BJP in Bihar. Strongly opposing the Emergency, he made a name for himself in student politics. My condolences are with his family and supporters in this hour of grief. Om Shanti!”.

Mr. Kumar in the condolence message said, “Sushil Kumar Modi was a true soldier of the JP movement. He also worked with us for a long time as Deputy Chief Minister. I had a personal relationship with him and am saddened by his demise. I have lost a true friend and a hard-working politician today. His demise has caused irreparable loss in the political and social fields.”

RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his son Mr. Yadav also expressed their deep grief. Many BJP leaders including Assembly Speaker Nand Kishore Yadav, Deputy CM Vijay Kumar Sinha and Ravi Shankar Prasad expressed their deep grief.

BJP leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Samrat Choudhary in his message on X said, “Heartfelt tribute to former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar and former Rajya Sabha MP Shri Sushil Kumar Modi ji on his demise. This is an irreparable loss for Bihar BJP.”

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