Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kashiram dead, Keshubhai loses an old warhorse

Gujarat EDN
TOI 01SEP2012


Ahmedabad/Surat: Former Union minister and ex-president of Gujarat BJP, Kashiram Rana, died in Ahmedabad at 3.37 am at U N Mehta cardiology centre of Civil Hospital. He was rushed in from the Circuit House, where he was staying overnight, after he felt chest pain at around 1.10 am.
    Doctors failed to revive him after he collapsed at the gate of the hospital. The death was attributed to a massive heart attack. Rana was 76 years old and a sixtime MP from Surat, besides being the city’s former mayor and MLA from Surat (east) in a long career spanning nearly 44 years.
    Chief minister Narendra Modi, former CMs Keshubhai Patel and Suresh Mehta, besides VHP leader Pravin Togadia were among those who rushed to Surat to pay their last respects.
    An accomplished wrestler, who started attending RSS shakhas from an early age, Rana was the only Union cabinet minister from Gujarat in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee ministry from 1998 to 2004, during which he held the textiles and rural development portfolio.
    Coming from a poor family belonging to the Gola (OBC) community, Rana had two sons and four daughters who he never encouraged to enter politics. He first became an MLA in 1975 on a Jan Sangh ticket and was among those who founded the BJP in 1980 in Gujarat.
    A leader with a human face, he never used to have security around him and his birthday celebrations were always held in the midst of handicapped children. During the Surat plague in 1994, he showed tremendous leadership qualities.
    During the 2001 earthquake, he donated a large number of artificial limps and joints to victims. In 2002, when Gujarat burned during the communal riots, he never let the flames touch Surat where he had good contacts among Muslims.
    When Keshubhai Patel was to be ousted from power in 1996, he was the party president and tipped to become the CM when Shankersinh Vaghela revolted.
    The BJP selected Suresh Mehta as CM giving a setback to Rana. In 2006, during the Surat floods, he spoke against the mishandling of the situation by the Modi government.
    As a result, he was denied ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections in 2009.
    After remaining in political oblivion for three years, he was only recently trying to stage a comeback by aligning with Keshubhai Patel’s Gujarat Parivartan Party. Rana was in fact in Ahmedabad to attend an important meeting of GPP on Friday. P 7