"He had come up from a humble background and built his strong base among the masses to become a national leader. He was a leader who had insight into both, organisational as well as administrative issues," Gadkari said in a statement.

As Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra and also as Deputy Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, he made a mark with his abilities, he said.

"With his demise, I have lost a colleague, under whose guidance several like me and I myself worked for decades. It is an irreparable loss to all of us," he said.

64-year-old Munde, the Rural Development Minister and the OBC face of BJP in Maharashtra, died apparently of shock and cardiac arrest suffered during a road accident early today.

Munde, who made his entry into the Union Cabinet for the first time after the Lok Sabha polls, was on his way to the airport when his car was hit by another vehicle.


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