Ex-minister Fakir Vaghela no more

Fakir Vaghela, former social justice and empowerment minister in the Narendra Modi government, passed away on Tuesday.

The 61-year-old leader complained of chest pain following which he was rushed to Gandhinagar Civil Hospital, where he was declared dead.

"He was at his residence when he complained of chest pain," said state BJP spokesperson Jagdish Bhavsar.

According to his party colleagues, Vaghela had been battling cardiac complications for some time.

Vaghela, who represented Vadgam Assembly constituency from 2007 to 2012, was one of the strongest dalit leaders in the state BJP. In the December 2012 Assembly elections, he lost his seat to Congress candidate Manilal Vaghela.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi condoled his colleague's demise. "Saddened by the demise of party colleague & former minister Shri Fakirbhai Vaghela. My condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace," the CM tweeted.

After the inauguration of National Book Fair in Ahmedabad today, Modi told reporters, "It is hard to believe. Only a few hours back, I had a talk with him."

As a minister, Vaghela had also held portfolios like youth affairs and culture.

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