NEW DELHI : A new Indian minister was killed Tuesday in a car accident in the capital just days after being sworn into government, officials said.
Gopinath Munde, rural development and water and sanitation minister, died in hospital after his car was involved in an accident en route to New Delhi's airport early Tuesday. "His car was hit by another car which gave him a shock and Munde himself asked his driver to rush him to the hospital," fellow minister Nitin Gadkari told reporters outside the AIIMS hospital.
Munde, 64, was among ministers sworn in on Monday last week after their right-wing party's landslide victory over the left-wing Congress party at the general election. A veteran politician and a senior leader of the BJP, Munde hailed from western Maharashtra where he was a former deputy chief minister of the state between 1995 and 1999.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among those to pay tribute to Munde, saying his death was a "major loss" for the country.
"Extremely saddened & shocked by the demise of my friend & colleague Gopinath Munde ji," Modi said in a tweet on his official account.
"His demise is a major loss for the Nation & the Govt," the premier said.
A doctor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) said Munde was declared dead shortly after being brought to the emergency department.
"When he was brought to the hospital there was no spontaneous breathing, pulse and cardiac activity," AIIMS spokesman Amit Gupta told reporters.
"We tried to resuscitate him but despite all efforts Munde couldn't be revived and was declared dead at 7:30am," he said.