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Former Minister dead

By Our Special Correspondent

JAIPUR, OCT. 23. Former Rajasthan Minister and patron of the All India Vishnoi Mahasabha, Ram Singh Vishnoi, died in Jodhpur on Friday following a heart attack. Mr. Vishnoi, who represented the Luni constituency in the State Assembly, was returning to Jodhpur after attending a programme in neighbouring Nagaur district when he suffered the heart attack in Pipad city.

The Rajasthan Governor, Madan Lal Khurana, the Chief Minister, Vasundhara Raje, and the Speaker of the Assembly, Sumitra Singh, have condoled his death. Ms. Raje also joined the burial which took place this afternoon at Tilvasani, the birth place of Mr. Vishnoi in Bilara tehsil of Jodhpur, along with the former Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot. Mr. Vishnoi was 69 years old. He is survived by his wife, three sons and a daughter. He had held the important portfolios of PHED and Agriculture during the previous Congress Government in Rajasthan led by Mr. Ashok Gehlot. He had represented the Vishnoi-dominated West Rajasthan constituency of Luni seven times -- in the elections of 1972, 1977, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1998 and 2003.

Born on October 20, 1935, and known for his witticism within and outside the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Vishnoi was a grassroot level leader who had never minced words when it came to tough political situations.

His bluntness often created problems too for him. On two occasions he got into controversies which led to his resignation as Minister from the erstwhile Gehlot Government as well as the one headed by the late Harideo Joshi in the 1990s. The funeral was attended by Rajasthan Ministers Laxminarain Dave and Amra Ram Choudhary, the Leader of the Opposition, B.D. Kalla, the president of the Pradesh Congress Committee, Narain Singh, besides the MP from Jodhpur, Jaswant Vishnoi.

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