Former information minister V.C. Shukla dead

Gurgaon, June 11 (IANS) Congress leader V.C. Shukla, who was grievously injured in a Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh May 25, died here in a private hospital, doctors said Tuesday.

Shukla, 84, who was the main architect of media censorship during the 1975-77 Emergency slapped by then prime minister Indira Gandhi, died around 2.30 p.m. in Medanta Medicity Hospital in Gurgaon.

A former union minister, he was shot in his chest, abdomen and thigh and had lost a lot of blood in the attack on a Congress convoy in Chhattisgarh's Bastar region, which claimed 28 lives. He was flown in an air ambulance to Delhi and taken to Medanta Medicity Hospital here.

Shukla was in a critical condition since his arrival at the hospital two weeks ago, Yatin Mehta, chairman of Medanta's Institute of Critical Care, said in a statement.

The Congress leader was operated upon for his intestinal and liver injuries and remained critical in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) with vital organs support, the statement said.

Shukla's father, Ravishankar Shukla, was the first chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. V.C. Shukla was inducted into the union cabinet in 1966 by Indira Gandhi.

His elder brother, Shyama Charan Shukla, was also a former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was among the first to condole Shukla's death.

"The prime minister extends condolences on the passing away of Congress leader V.C. Shukla who was injured in a Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh," the Prime Minister's Office said on Twitter.

Congress leader and Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said: "He was a dynamic leader. The Congress has lost a star."

"When he started out in politics, Chhattisgarh had not been carved out of Madhya Pradesh. He represented Madhya Pradesh with his brother Shyama Charan, who was the chief minister," Diskshit recalled.

Congress leader Rashid Alvi said: "It is very unfortunate. He will always be in our memories."

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "My condolences on the passing away of V.C. Shukla. May his soul rest in peace."

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