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Kanshi Ram dead
Kanshi Ram

New Delhi, Oct. 9 (PTI) : The founder of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Kanshi Ram, died here early today following a heart attack. Ram, 74, died at 12.30 am at his official residence, party sources said. He had been suffering from multiple ailments like diabetes and hypertension and had been under medical observation.

Born on March 15, 1934, Ram, a politician of Dalit Sikh background, founded the BSP in 1984. Along with Mayawati, he brought the party to power in Uttar Pradesh in 1995. Mayawati became the state's chief minister.

Ram was also a member of the 11th Lok Sabha (1996-'97). At a political rally in December 2001 in Lucknow, Ram declared Mayawati as his "political heir" and she took over as president of the BSP.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled the death of Kanshi Ram saying he was an important voice of the Dalits. Union ministers Lalu Prasad Yadav, Sharad Pawar and Ram Vilas Paswan, Opposition leader L K Advani and BJP leaders Arun Jaitely and Kalraj Mishra were among the first to reach the 11, Humayun Road residence of the BSP chief Mayawati to pay their respects. Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav said the country has lost a "great leader" who inspired Dalits to lead a respectful life.

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