New Delhi:Former External Affairs Minister and four-times Gujarat Chief Minister, Madhavsinh Solanki passed away on Saturday at his Gandhinagar residence during his sleep.
He was 93.
A former journalist, Solanki was INC's longest-ruling chief minister in Gujarat and known for having led the Congress to its largest-ever victory winning 149 of 182 seats in the legislative assembly in 1985 -- a record that no leader has been able to break.
He is credited as the proponents of KHAM (Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi, Muslim), a theory that united these communities in support of the Congress when the Patels had abandoned it, and this is claimed to have kept the Congress in power in the state
He went on to become foreign minister in the Narasimha Rao government after he served as the member of of the legislative assembly of the Bombay state in 1957-60 and then of the Gujarat legislative assembly from 1960-68, followed by becoming the chief minister of Gujarat for the first time in 1976. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1988 to 1994, during which he held the portfolios as union minister of Planning (1988-89) and external affairs (1991).
He was last seen in public some three years ago when he met Congress leaders on his birthday.According to family sources, his funeral is likely to be held only after his son Bharatsinh Solani, who is also a former union minister, returns from the US.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani condoled his demise and announced a day’s state mourning on Saturday saying the “veteran chief minister’s funeral would be accorded full state honour”. Rupani also cancelled his public event in Mahisagar district and would chair a council of ministers meeting at Gandhinagar to pass a condolence resolution on Saturday noon.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to condole Solanki’s demise. “Shri Madhavsinh Solanki Ji was a formidable leader, playing a key role in Gujarat politics for decades. He will be remembered for his rich service to society. Saddened by his demise. Spoke to his son, Bharat Solanki Ji and expressed condolences. Om Shanti,” he tweeted.
“Beyond politics, Shri Madhavsinh Solanki Ji enjoyed reading and was passionate about culture. Whenever I would meet him or speak to him, we would discuss books and he would tell me about a new book he recently read. I will always cherish the interactions we had,” the prime minister added.(UNI)