Sushil Modi loses battle to cancer, leaders across political lines condole his demise

New Delhi/Patna, May 14 (IANS) A little over a month after he revealed he had cancer, veteran BJP leader and former Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi passed away at the AIIMS in Delhi on Monday. He was 72.

The longest-serving Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar (2005-2013 and 2017-20) , Sushil Modi also held the Finance portfolio, which made a key figure in the rollout and implementation of the Goods and Service Tax as a leading member of the GST Council.

A Rajya Sabha member since 2020, he had declined to contest the ongoing Lok Sabha elections on account of his health after he revealed the deadly disease he was suffering from in a post on X on April 3.

"I have been suffering from cancer for the past 6 months and the time has come to make it public. I won't be able to do anything for my party in the Lok Sabha election. I have already informed PM Narendra Modi about my disease. I am thankful and dedicated to my country, Bihar and my party", he said in the post.

PM Modi led the country in paying condolences to the departed leader.

In an emotive post on X in Hindi, he wrote that he was "deeply saddened at the untimely death" of Sushil Modi, whom he termed "an invaluable colleague and a close friend for decades".

"He had an invaluable contribution to the rise and successes of the BJP in Bihar. His steadfast opposition to the Emergency led him to create a unique identity as he rose from student politics. He was known as a hard-working and approachable lawmaker. He had a deep knowledge of political issues. He had a creditable tenure as an administrator. His constructive role in the rollout of GST will always be remembered. In this hour of grief, I extend my condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti!" the PM wrote.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed his deep condolences on the demise of Sushil Modi, terming it a big loss for Bihar.

"Very sad news was received about the demise of our friend Bhai Sushil Modi. He was my friend for the last 51-52 years. He was a dedicated social and political person. May God grant eternal peace to the departed soul and strength to the family to bear the loss," he said.

“I am deeply saddened to hear the news of the untimely demise of respected Shri Sushil Kumar Modi, former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, our guardian, struggling and hardworking leader. May God grant peace to the departed soul at his feet and strength to his family and well-wishers in this hour of grief. Om Shanti Om," said Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Tejashwi Yadav, who was the Deputy Chief Minister between Sushil Modi's two tenures.

"Sorry to hear about the sad demise of Shri Sushil Kumar Modi, former Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family & friends. May the departed soul rest in peace," West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on X.

BJP President J.P. Nadda, Union Ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, and Giriraj Singh, former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, Bihar's Deputy Chief Ministers Samrat Choudhary and Vijay Kumar Sinha, and RJD leader Tej Pratap Yadav, who met Sushil Modi after his illness, also expressed their shock at his passing away.

Born in Patna on January 5, 1952, Sushil Modi was a student of BSc at the prestigious B.N. College but he left his studies midway and jumped into the Sampoorna Kranti movement of Jai Prakash Narayan, starting his political career.

Joining active politics in 1990, he was elected to the Assembly from the Patna Central constituency (now Kumhrar) and re-elected in 1995 and 2000. He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Bhagalpur in 2004.

One of the prominent leaders of the BJP in Bihar, he had been its most vocal leader, serving as Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly during the tenure of Chief Ministers Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi. He also shared a special rapport with CM Nitish Kumar.

In 2005, the NDA came to power in Bihar and Sushil Modi resigned from the Lok Sabha and became the Deputy Chief Minister in the Nitish Kumar government. He also became a member of the Legislative Council. After the NDA returned to power in the 2010 Assembly election, he retained the post till 2013 when Nitish Kumar parted ways with the NDA. When Nitish Kumar again joined hands with the NDA in 2017, he resumed the post, which he held till the 2020 Assembly polls.


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