New Delhi: Rural Development Minister Gopinath Munde has passed away, after meeting with an accident while his convoy was on way to the Delhi airport.
It is believed that the accident, which took place between 6.00 and 6.30am, took place while Munde's convoy was en route to the airport, where he was scheduled to catch a flight back to Mumbai.
Munde was then rushed to AIIMS, where he was put on a ventilator.
Speaking to media a short while ago, BJP leader Nitin Gadkari said that Munde had died at around 8 in the morning. "Munde was a diabetic patient, he was seriously injured after he fell off the car. He was conscious after the accident, he himself said 'take me to the hospital", Gadkari said.
Gadkari added that Munde had been sitting alone at the back of the car, although he had been traveling with security guards, and said that Munde's family was at the Mumbai airport and would reach the national capital soon.
BJP leader Harsh Vardhan who was also with Gadkari, said that by the time he reached AIIMS he had already had a heart attack. "When he reached AIIMS he was already serious, I rushed to the hospital as soon as I got to know", Vardhan said.
The 64-year-old Munde was a BJP deputy leader. He was also Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly during 1992-1995 and has held the post of Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra from 1995 to 1999.
"We have lost one of our best leaders. This is a tragedy for the BJP and the government", Vardhan said.
A post mortem will be carried out soon, although it has already been ascertained that he passed away following cardiac arrest. Following the post mortem, his body will be taken to the BJP party headquarters and then to his village of Parli in Beed.
The death of Munde is being seen as a massive blow to the BJP Maharashtra unit. He was one of the most popular state leaders of the party.