Pramod Mahajan was the Bharatiya Janata Party's suave, sophisticated mascot. From Laptop Brigade to Five-Star Politician, Mahajan gave Indian politics new colour, new phrases, and a whole new face to a party that had till then the air of a strict, regimented lot.
He lived glamorously, organised meticulously and never bothered about the controversies that would keep cropping up around him. He was the face of the BJP's Gen Next.
He was shot by his brother, Pravin, three times at point-blank range, at his Mumbai residence on April 22. He fought a grim fortnight-long battle for his life in hospital before succumbing on May 3. Reportedly, Pravin Mahajan was angry at being ignored by his famous elder brother.
One of the five children of a humble family in Marathwada in Maharashtra, Pramod Mahajan had close ties with the Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh.
His rise in the BJP started after Atal Bihari Vajpayee was impressed with his oratory skills during a political rally in 1977.
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He soon became the public face of the BJP as well as the backroom boy organising the party's various activities, including L K Advani's rath yatra in 1990.
He was made the defence minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's ministry in 1996. The ministry lasted 13 days; Mahajan's effect was to last much, much longer.
He was Vajpayee's political advisor in 1998 and later became communications minister. He held a number of posts, including parliamentary affairs minister, information technology minister and water resources minister.
Text: Rediff News Desk
Photograph: Sebastian D'Souza/AFP/Getty Images
Also read: Mahajan's last journey