Former cricketer Chetan Chauhan, who had multi-organ failure on Saturday and had been on life support following the Covid-19 related complications, passed away Sunday evening. His brother Pushpendra Chauhan disclosed the news.
Chauhan (73), the Cabinet Minister in Uttar Pradesh government, had been hospitalised at Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute (SGPGI) in Lucknow since July 12 and shifted to Medanta Hospital, Gurugram in Haryana for Covid-19 treatment, later when his health worsened.
He is the second Covid-19 victim of the Yogi cabinet. Technical Education Minister Kamal Rani had succumbed to the virus a fortnight ago at SGPGI.
PM Modi paid rich tributes to his party colleague, “Shri Chetan Chauhan Ji distinguished himself as a wonderful cricketer and later as a diligent political leader. He made effective contributions to public service and strengthened the BJP in UP. Anguished by his passing away. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti.”
Chauhan held the sainik welfare, home guards, PRD and Civil Security ministries. “He was among the fittest ministers of Yogi and perhaps the most humble minister also,” a senior journalist said.
He is survived by his wife and daughter. The ex-cricketer had lost his son Karan from his first wife Anita in Australia a few years ago and had launched a cricket tournament in his name in 2017.
Chauhan, who had played 40 Tests for India, had been Sunil Gavaskar's longest serving opening partner. The duo scored over 3,000 runs, including 12 century stands, cricket experts say.
Arjun Awardee Chauhan was born in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh. Later, he moved to Pune with his father who was an Army officer. Chauhan studied at Wadia College in Pune and played Ranji Cricket for Maharashtra (1967-68).
He later moved to Delhi and remained a Delhi stalwart ever since. In the seventies, the Gavaskar-Chauhan pair was the third most successful pair in the Test match history, a senior sports journalist said.
After being dropped from the Test team in 1981, he moved to Australia to join ANZ bank and captain-coach of the Adelaide club. After a few years, he returned to India and became part of cricket administration and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
He had been Lok Sabha member from Amroha, UP twice. In June 2014, Chauhan was appointed as the chairman of the premier fashion institute NIFT which created a huge controversy.
State mourning: Govt mentions wrong ministry
The Yogi government on Sunday announced state mourning for August 17 following the death of the cabinet minister Chetan Chauhan. The order issued mentioned that the sports minister (who is actually Upendra Tiwari) will be cremated with full state honour on August 17 in Hapur.
The only problem, Chauhan was the home guards & Sainik welfare minister at present. A clarification issued later. People expressed shock and dismay over the matter.
“This is an insult to the departed soul. This also shows how the entire government is being run by one man-chief minister Yogi making other ministers obsolete and ceremonial,” a BJP leader says.
“This is also an insult to the current sports minister,” observers said.
Incidentally, a similar mistake was made when Kamal Rani had passed away.