Parasram Maderna, a prominent Congress leader in Rajasthan breathed his last at the Sawai Man Singh Hospital in the city on Sunday.
From being a sarpanch of Chadi in 1953, a small village situated on sand dunes near Jodhpur, he went on to win nine assembly elections in his lifetime and also headed the Congress in the state from 1989 to 1994. He had also held important portfolios in different Congress governments and was speaker of the assembly from 1999 to 2004.
"The stature of Maderna can be gauged from Congress president Sonia Gandhi's visit to his home in 2006 after the Congress lost the 2003 elections. The Congress went on to form the government again in 2008. He was known for his straight talk and rustic style which made him popular among different communities," said Navin Jaiswal, a senior journalist.
Veteran Congress leaders said that misinformed media persons called him a Jat leader'. Senior Congress leaders said that in 1989 Maderna was openly supported by Brahmin and Bania members of the Pradesh Congress committee for the post of state party chief when chief minister Shiv Charan Mathur was inclined to give the post to Naval Kishor Sharma.
A senior Congress leader said, "Maderna fought with the high command for giving ticket to Ashok Gehlot from Jodhpur in 1980. He was the one who backed Rajput leaders like Khet Singh Rathore and Gulab Singh Shakhtawat in the Congress. He was also the one who visited Bharatpur city palace to bring Vishvendra Singh to the Congress."
He had close family ties with leaders like Baldev Ram Mirdha, Balram Jakhar. His proximity to Bhajan Lal, former Haryana chief minister made him an important power centre for the Congress in Rajasthan during the regimes of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
Bhavani Singh Deora a senior journalist said, "With Maderna's demise an epoch in Rajasthan politics has come to an end. Now onus will be on younger leaders like Raghuvendra Mirdha, Divya Maderna, Jyoti Mirdha, Rameshwar Dudi and Ajay Kilak to carry forward the legacy of politics based on ground realities."