Chandigarh: Former Union minister and three-time BJP Ambala MP, Rattan Lal Kataria passed away after a brief illness on Thursday. He was 72.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, and other political leaders across the spectrum expressed condolences at Kataria’s demise.
In a condolence message sent through Union minister for social justice and empowerment, Dr Virendra Kumar, Prime Minister Modi said that Kataria would be remembered for his rich contribution to public service.
Khattar, party state president O P Dhankar and several senior leaders paid last respects to Kataria at his residence in Panchkula and extended condolences to the bereaved family members.
Kataria was cremated later in the day with full state honours. A one-day state mourning was declared.
Kataria is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son
Kataria was admitted to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh a few days ago after initial complaints of pneumonia. He had developed other health complications and remained in the PGIMER for treatment since then. Kataria is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.
A prominent Dalit leader in the state, Kataria was elected to the Lok Sabha from Ambala in 1999, 2014 and 2019 and had also served as a minister of state in the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment from May 2019 till July 20121. He had also been an MLA in 1985 from Radaur assembly seat (district Yamunanagar) and was the revenue minister in the state. He was also the state party president for three years from 2000.
Kataria came from a humble background
A law graduate with a master’s degree in political science, the former Union minister came from a humble background - his father was a cobbler - and was known for his cheerful nature, witty short poems and singing talent. He would take out a line or two from popular songs and compose his own version.
Here is an example of a song often sung by him:
“Kamal ke phool par muhar lagaa kar, hum bhi dekhenge…. Atalji ke zara nazdeek jaakar hum bhi dekhenge …. (on the lines of ``teri mehfil mein qismet aazmaa kar hum bhi dekhenge…’’
As a 13-year old, he had also won an award from the then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru for his singing skills.
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