| (From left) BJP leaders M. Venkaiah Naidu, M.M. Joshi, L.K. Advani, his wife Kamla and Gopinath Munde pay their last respects to Pramod Mahajan at the party office in Mumbai on Wednesday. Picture by Gajanan Dudhalkar
Mumbai, May 3: The family and the BJP sank into grief at 4.10 pm when Pramod Mahajan’s death was announced. Praveen, the younger brother who shot him 12 days ago, sank into silence, according to police.
Losing the battle against several bullet injuries, Mahajan succumbed today to multiple organ failure, compounded by acute respiratory distress syndrome, at the PD Hinduja Hospital.
Mahajan, 57, leaves behind wife Rekha, son Rahul and daughter Poonam.
On April 22 morning, Praveen shot him in his Worli flat and surrendered to the police. He said he had taken this extreme step because his elder brother treated him like a “dog”.
Soon after the successful second surgery on Mahajan in the initial days in the hospital, Praveen had allegedly expressed disappointment that the BJP leader was still alive.
Senior officials of Mumbai police said Praveen told interrogating officials: “Saala bach gaya lagta hai.”
Today, hours after Mahajan’s death, Praveen, who was sent to judicial custody by a Mumbai court in the morning, was unusually quiet.
After 4.10 pm, Section 307 became Section 302. Attempt to murder is now murder.
“I am told that he has been very quiet since the news was broken to him. I am not sure whether it is grief or worry about his own fate,” said a senior officer of Mumbai police’s law and order branch which is investigating the case.
Mahajan’s condition had been deteriorating for the past three days with the onset of respiratory distress (ARDS), which is a life-threatening condition in which the lungs get inflamed and fluid accumulates in the air sacs.
On Monday afternoon, the doctors had said signs of ARDS were “evolving” and upgraded the ventilatory support. But Mahajan continued to sink.
Pramod Lele, chief executive officer of the hospital, said: “We tried our best to save him' but unfortunately Pramodji passed away at 4.10 pm.”
Earlier in the afternoon, the hospital authorities had called his family into the intensive care unit and, other than his wife, son and daughter, his mother Prabhavati and second brother Prakash were around him at the time of death.
Around 1.35 pm, after it became known that the family had been called, political leaders began to stream into the hospital. The first to arrive were Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray with son Uddhav, his estranged nephew Raj and BJP leader Sushma Swaraj. Hundreds of party workers assembled at the hospital.
Lal Krishna Advani and BJP president Rajnath Singh cut short their yatras and headed to Mumbai. In Delhi, at the party headquarters, Atal Bihari Vajpayee said in a tribute: “In his death, the country has lost a skilled organiser, a forceful orator and an aggressive representative of its youth.”
Maharashtra’s Congress chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who arrived at the hospital with his deputy R.R. Patil, said Mahajan, who served as defence, parliamentary affairs and information technology minister, would be given a state funeral tomorrow.
His body was kept at the BJP’s state headquarters at Nariman Point and would be taken to his residence later at night. The funeral would take place at the Shivaji Park crematorium.