Virbhadra Singh, 6-time Himachal Pradesh CM, dies at 87
Virbhadra Singh, a six-time Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh and senior Congress party leader, passed away in the early hours of Thursday. He was 87. He died at the Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMC) in Shimla around 4:00 am, Dr. Janak Raj, senior medical superintendent at that hospital, said, according to PTI. He had tested positive for the coronavirus twice this year.
Singh had been on ventilator support at the IGMC
Singh had suffered a heart attack on Monday night and was recuperating at the intensive care unit of the IGMC. He was put on ventilator support on Wednesday after he developed breathing problems. "After his health deteriorated, he was put on ventilator but could not recover. We feel sorry that despite our best efforts, we could not save his life," Dr. Janak Raj said.
He had turned 87 years old on June 23
Singh had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 13 and was taken to Max Hospital in Mohali near Chandigarh. He was discharged on April 23, but upon arriving in Shimla, he developed breathing issues and was then admitted to the IGMC. He tested positive for the deadly infection again on June 11 and later recovered. Singh had marked his 87th birthday on June 23.
Singh was born in 1934 to Raja Sir Padam Singh
Singh was born in 1934 in the royal family of the erstwhile princely state of Bushahr in British India. He studied at the Bishop Cotton School, Shimla and St. Stephen's College, University of Delhi. His wife, Pratibha Singh, and son Vikramaditya Singh, are also politicians. Pratibha is a former MP from Mandi while Vikramaditya is an MLA from the Shimla Rural constituency.
Singh first became Himachal Pradesh CM in 1983
Singh served as the Chief Minister of the hilly state for several terms: 1983 to 1990, 1993 to 1998, 2003 to 2007, 2012-2017. After the 2017 Assembly elections, his Congress government was replaced by the BJP. He had also served as the Union Minister of Steel, and Minister of Micro, Small & Medium enterprises (MSME) in the Cabinet of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Political leaders mourn Singh's demise
Leaders from across party lines mourned Singh's demise. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "saddened" after hearing the news. "Shri Virbhadra Singh Ji had a long political career, with rich administrative and legislative experience...Condolences to his family and supporters," he tweeted. Meanwhile, former Congress party President Rahul Gandhi praised Singh's "commitment to serving the people."