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Dal spokesman dead

Patna, Aug. 17: JD(U) spokesperson and high court lawyer Shakeel Ahmad Khan died at Medanta Hospital in New Delhi today.

Complications developing after a bypass surgery were the cause of death, confirmed his daughter Maria Shakeel. Khan was 65 and is survived by three daughters.

“We brought him from Patna to New Delhi last Friday as he was sweating a lot. He was admitted to the emergency ward of Medanta Hospital. An operation was conducted the next day. However, the complication developed after the operation. He died today,” said Maria.

She added that Khan’s last rites would be conducted at his native village Makpa in Jehanabad, around 70km south from Patna, tomorrow.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar said the last rites would be conducted with state honours. His deputy Sushil Kumar Modi said: “The departed leader always worked to boost communal harmony.”

Famous for his oratory skills and legal acumen, Khan began his chequered political career with CPI in the late 1970s. In the early 1990s, he switched over to Janata Dal and became close to Lalu Prasad. He served as the energy and law minister when Lalu’s wife Rabri Devi was the chief minister of Bihar.

After RJD was voted out of power in 2005, Khan was the deputy leader of the party. He lost Aurangabad Lok Sabha seat in 2009 and the Guruwa Assembly seat in Gaya in 2010.

Last year, he disassociated from the RJD and joined the rival JD(U) and was made the national spokesperson of the party.