India's Congress Party Stricken by Deaths of Leaders

Published September 30th, 2001 - 02:00 GMT

The death of Indian politician Madhav Rao Scindia on Sunday is the latest tragedy to hit India's main opposition Congress party which has seen six top party leaders die in the past 18 months.  

Rao, 56, who was the party's deputy leader in parliament, was killed when his private plane crashed amid heavy rain. 

Another young and dynamic leader Rajesh Pilot died in a road accident in the western state of Rajasthan in June last year. 

Pilot, 55, who was widely considered a rebel in the party, was killed when the jeep he was driving collided with a truck. 

Four months later, former Congress president and veteran leader Sitaram Kesri died after a long illness. Kesri was a highly respected party member who rose from the grassroots level to the top party post. 

In January this year maverick Congress leader, Jitendra Prasada, who stood against Congress president Sonia Gandhi in last year's party elections, died of a brain tumor. 

A month later popular Congress spokesman V.N. Gadgil also died due to illness. 

A stalwart of the party from southern India, Vijyabhaskra Reddy, who was former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh state, died last week. 

Further back in history, former Congress prime ministers Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv Gandhi, husband of Sonia Gandhi, both died at the hands of assassins -- NEW DELHI (AFP)

© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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