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"Amarsinh's death, an irreparable loss to State"

By Manas Dasgupta

AHMEDABAD, AUG. 15. The Leader of the Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly and former Chief Minister, Amarsinh Chaudhary, died here this afternoon after a brief illness. He was 63.

The only tribal Chief Minister of the State, Mr. Chaudhary is survived by his wife, Gajraben, son, Tushar Chaudhary, who is a member of the Lok Sabha, and a daughter.

Mr. Chaudhary, a former president of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee, was admitted to the Kesar SAL private hospital about three weeks ago with a kidney ailment. He died there at 12.15 p.m.

The body was taken to his official residence in Gandhinagar where it will be kept for the public to pay homage till tomorrow morning.

Later, it will be taken to the State Secretariat premises where he will be given a guard of honour before being brought back to Ahmedabad to be kept at the State party headquarters here for homage. The body would then be taken by road to his native village, Vyara in Surat district for cremation on Tuesday morning.

Young entrant

A civil engineer, Mr. Chaudhary entered politics at a very young age after being a State Government employee for a brief period. He first became a junior minister in the Ghanshyam Oza cabinet in 1972 and later served as minister in subsequent cabinets before he took over as the Chief Minister in 1985 and held the post till 1989. He also served as the GPCC president briefly in 2002.

The GPCC president, Bhairondan Gadhavi, and other Congress leaders reached the hospital on hearing of his demise. A stream of mourners also filed past the body at his Gandhinagar to pay their tributes.

The Governor, Nawal Kishore Sharma, the Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, the Speaker of the State Assembly, Mangaldas Patel, Mr. Gadhavi and many others paid rich tributes and described his death as an irreparable loss to the State. Mr. Gadhavi said that he and most of the Congressmen in the State felt it was a personal loss as he was dear to many.

The Government has declared two days of mourning and has cancelled all official functions, including the inauguration of the Ahmedabad-Vadodara Express Highway tomorrow by the Union Minister of Shipping and Road Transport, T. R. Baalu.

All Government offices in Vyara will remain closed on Tuesday as a mark of respect to the leader.

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