Jaipur: Former Rajasthan finance minister Manik Chand Surana passed away early on Wednesday. He was 89.
Surana had contracted COVID-19 last month but had recovered. However, his health did not improve. He breathed his last at his home in Jaipur. His last rites will be conducted in his native place, Bikaner, on Thursday.
Several BJP and Congress leaders expressed grief at Surana’s demise. Rajasthan governor Kalraj Mishra expressed sadness at Surana’s passing. In his condolence, Mishra said Surana was a popular leader and had a deep understanding of economic issues.
Chief minister Ashok Gehlot in his message expressed grief at Surana’s demise and prayed for peace to the departed soul.
In her condolence message, former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje said Surana had always worked for the welfare of the poor and the farmers. She prayed for peace to the departed soul.
Surana was born on March 31, 1931. He was active in politics since his student days and became president of Doongar college in Bikaner.
Surana was finance minister in Rajasthan from 1977 to 1980 when BJP stalwart Bhairon Singh Shekhawat was the chief minister.
He made his foray into politics by contesting on the Lunkaransar seat in Bikaner district on a Janata Party ticket in 1977. He won the 1977 and 1985 elections on a Janata Party ticket. Later he formed the Janata Party (progressive) but it did not make much headway in Rajasthan and he merged his party with the BJP in 2000.
He contested the assembly polls from Lunkaransar on a BJP ticket in 2003 and won. Former chief minister Vasundhara Raje had made Surana the chairman of the State Finance Commission in 2005.
Surana, who was a Vaishya, did not have a strong caste basis on the Lunkaransar seat which is Jat dominated. However, he won elections owing to his direct contact with people and his good standing among all castes.
In 2013, the BJP did not give Surana a ticket for the assembly elections and he quit the party in anger. He contested the elections from Lunkaransar as an independent and won. The mild-mannered Surana had a deep knowledge of economics and finance and he had friends cutting across party lines.