The sudden death of Union minister Anil Madhav Dave came as a shock to the people of Madhya Pradesh, who started flocking at ‘Nadi ka ghar’ (house of river), his residence here. The Madhya Pradesh government declared a two-day state mourning as a mark of respect to the departed leader after he passed away this morning in New Delhi, even as leaders cutting across party lines expressed profound grief over his demise.
A pall of gloom descended at ‘Nadi Ka Ghar’ with Dave’s supporters flocking the three-storey building set up by him which was also used to run Narmada Samagra, an NGO for conserving river Narmada, the lifeline of MP. Born on July 6, 1956 at Barnagar in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain district, Dave, a bachelor, used to live in this house whenever he was in Bhopal.
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The house used to be his nerve centre for running the river conservation campaign as well as to formulate strategies for contesting elections. A master strategist, Dave was credited with bringing the BJP to power in MP in 2003 by running a successful campaign against the then Congress Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh.
Dave’s love for environment and water bodies is also reflected in his will that he left for those who wanted to cherish his memories, BJP’s spokesman Rajnish Agrawal said. “If you want to cherish my memories, plant trees and save them. This would give me pleasure,” Dave stated in the will written on July 23, 2012.
“Maximum efforts should be made for the conservation of rivers and water bodies and by doing so, use of my name should be avoided,” he said in the will. The testament also stated that there should be no memorial or statue established in his name. It mentioned that no competition or award should be instituted in his name.
It also specified the place where he desired his last rites to be performed.
“If possible, my cremation should be performed on the banks of river Narmada at Bandrabhan where Nadi Mahotsav was organised,” he had stated.
The leader used to organise the international river festival at Bandrabhan to create awareness among people about conserving rivers.
Dave had also expressed that his last rites should be performed only through ‘vaidik’ rituals without any show.
State BJP’s media in-charge Lokendra Parashar said that as per Dave’s wish, his last rites will be performed at Bandrabhan, a place close to his heart on the banks of Narmada river in Hoshangabad district at 10 am tomorrow.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan described Dave as a true party worker, as he remembered his long-time BJP colleague.
“Anil Dave was a true BJP worker. He has served the country with dedication for his whole life,” Chouhan said in a tweet.
“The country has lost a true patriot and son of Maa Narmada. It is an irreparable loss,” he said.
Congress chief whip in Lok Sabha, Jyotiraditya Scindia said the state has lost an excellent environmentalist and a simple and honest leader in the death of Dave.
State BJP president Nandkumar Singh Chauhan described Dave as a nationalist thinker, and an able organiser and environmentalist.
It is an irreparable loss to the nation and the BJP, he said.
Dave had made immense contribution to politics and environment by associating himself with public causes, state Public Relations Minister Narottam Mishra recalled.
State BJP vice president Vijesh Lunawat, who was very close to Dave, said the leader had made an unparallelled contribution to the party.
Dave was a “university” himself in environment conservation, election management and developing a dedicated work force for the party, Lunawat said.
Dave’s mortal remains will be brought to the state BJP headquarters here in the evening to enable the people and party workers to pay their respects.
Meanwhile, Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar also expressed shock over Dave’s sudden demise.
“Shocked & saddened by untimely demise of Shri Anil Dave. India has lost a promising leader who had immense concern for our environment,” Parrikar tweeted.