Senior Punjab minister killed in car-trucks crash (Lead)

March 29th, 2009 - 10:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, March 29 (IANS) Punjab’s Cooperation Minister and senior Akali Dal leader Kanwaljit Singh was killed in a road accident in Mohali district Sunday evening.
Singh was rushed to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here in a critical condition, his aides said. Doctors tried to revive the injured minister but failed.

He was declared dead around 8.30 p.m., nearly three hours after the accident.

The Punjab government’s media adviser Harcharan Bains and Akali Dal leader D.S. Cheema confirmed the minister’s death.

The accident, involving the minister’s Hyundai Elantra car and two trucks, took place near a village near Landran town in Mohali district, 25 km from here, when he was going for an election meeting.

Mohali district police chief Jatinder Singh Aulakh told IANS that the minister was rushed to the PGIMER after the accident.

Singh’s driver and gunman were also injured in the accident.

Singh, 66, a three-time minister, was one of the senior-most ministers in the Parkash Singh Badal-led government.

Suave and articulate, Singh was considered closest to Badal till three years ago and was often seen in Akali Dal circles as Badal’s successor. However, Badal last year chose his son Sukhbir Badal over other top Akali leaders and elevated him as the Akali Dal president.

In January this year, Badal junior was also elevated as deputy chief minister, overlooking the seniority of other Akali leaders, including Kanwaljit Singh, in the state cabinet.

Singh, a former army captain (short service commission), represented the Banur assembly segment in the Punjab assembly four times.

Before taking charge of the cooperation department, he had held the portfolios of home and finance.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister and Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal and several other leaders condoled the death of Kanwaljit Singh.

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