Former BJP Chief Bangaru Laxman passes away in Hyderabad

Hyderabad: Former BJP President and Union Minister Bangaru Laxman passed away today at a private hospital here after prolonged illness. He was admitted to Yashoda Hospital in Hyderabad. He was 74 years old.

Bangaru was suffering from respiratory problem since he came out from jail. He was out on bail and was being treated for health problems in Hyderabad. Bangaru is survived by his wife Sushila and four children (a son and three daughters). As per reports, Laxman was confined to a wheelchair for the past 12 years owing to poor health.

He was President of Bharatiya Janata Party from 2000 to 2001 and a minister of state for railways in Government of India from 1999 to 2000.

The Dalit leader was stung by the Tehelka in a defence deal in 2000-2001, under Operation West End. He was seen taking Rs 1 lakh bribe in a video released by the Tehelka. This had led to major loss of face to then NDA Government and was one of the reason of its downfall in 2004 Elections

A special CBI court April 27, 2012 sentenced Laxman to four years in prison. He was arrested and sent to jail. In October the same year, the Delhi High Court granted bail to Laxman on medical grounds.

The BJP leader had earlier pleaded for leniency, claiming he was a heart patient and had undergone a coronary bypass.

Born in a Dalit family March 17, 1939, he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at a young age. In 1969, he became a member of Jan Sangh and was jailed during emergency in 1975.

He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1996. He held many positions in the BJP and was the first Dalit president of the party.

His wife Susheela Bangaru Laxman was elected to the Lok Sabha from Jalore in Rajasthan in 2004.

(With IANS Inputs)