Senior BJP leader and former Union minister Jaywantiben Mehta passed away early on Monday at her South Mumbai residence. She was 78. Mehta had served in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government as the Union minister of state for power.
Mehta died at 1.30am on Monday following a brief illness. Her last rites will be held at Shivaji Park crematorium at 5.30 pm.
Top leaders across political parties expressed their condolences. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several senior BJP ministers, including Suresh Prabhu and Venkaiah Naidu, and even her former colleagues in the Vajpayee cabinet have tweeted their condolences.
Six years ago, Mehta had penned her multi-lingual autobiography, Marching With Time, charting her political journey.
A three-time Member of Parliament (MP), Mehta, a housewife-turned-politician, started her career as a corporator in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. She went on to become a legislator twice, a three-time MP and a Union minister. A good orator, Mehta’s contribution has helped turn south Mumbai into a BJP stronghold. She was defeated from her constituency by Congress’s Milind Deora in 2004 and 2009 after which she retired from active politics.
“As a corporator, a legislator and an MP, Jaywantiben Mehta’s work was exemplary. Because of her organisational prowess, nearly two generations of women leaders became active in party politics. She always took the lead in solving Mumbai’s woes and lent her voice to the city’s poor and backward people,” said chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
“She was popularly known as Bhuleshwar Bhawani for her fiery oratory and always remained a disciplined party loyalist. Her political journey at a time when many women were not in the field, has been and is still inspirational for many women political leaders,” said Ashish Shelar, BJP Mumbai unit chief.