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Rajesh Pilot killed in road accident


JAIPUR, JUNE 11. Mr. Rajesh pilot, senior Congress(I) leader and former Union Minister, was tragically killed this afternoon in a road accident, 45 km from here.

The 55-year old Indian Air Force pilot-turned politician, who was critically injured when a jeep driven by him collided head-on with a State transport bus at Bhandana village near his Lok Sabha constituency, Dausa, was rushed to the SMS Medical College Hospital where he later died.

A member of the Congress Working Committee(CWC), Mr. Pilot was coming here from Dausa to catch a Jet Airways flight to Delhi when the accident occurred. He suffered multiple injuries on his head, chest and face.

While one of his gunmen died on the spot, three others, including Mahindra Singh Meena, MLA, were injured, the Director General of Police, Mr. Amitabh Gupta told PTI.

Mr. Pilot, who entered the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1980, is survived by his politician wife and Congress(I) MLA, Mrs. Rama, a son and a daughter.

Elected to the Lok Sabha for the sixth time in the last year election, Mr. Pilot was a Minister of State for Home, Communications and Surface Transport in the P. V. Narasimha Rao Government. He had quit the IAF in 1979 as a squadron leader to join politics.

The President, Mr. K. R. Narayanan, the Vice President, Mr. Krishan Kant, the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Lok Sabha Speaker, Mr. G. M. C Balayogi, the Congress(I) President, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Ministers, Mr. P. V. Narasimha Rao and Mr.V. P. Singh, the Home Minister, Mr. L. K. Advani and several Union Ministers and political leaders condoled Mr. Pilot's death.

A huge crowd thronged the hospital, as the news of his death spread. Many of them were in tears.

The medical college principal, Mr. S. R. Dharkar, said Mr. Pilot had suffered multiple injuries and ``there was no respiration, no blood pressure when he was brought to the hospital. We tried to revive him but could not succeed.'' Mr. Pilot had unsuccessfully contested against Mr. Sitaram Kesri for the Congress presidentship as well as for the leadership of the Congress in Parliament after the 1996 polls when the party was in the Opposition.

Mr. Pilot was first inducted into the Union Council of Ministers by Rajiv Gandhi in September 1985 as a Minister of State for Surface Transport and given the Ministry's independent charge a year later.

He served as a Minister of State for Communications and later given charge of Internal Security in the Home Ministry by Mr. Narasimha Rao.

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