June 3, 2014 - 09:25 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Gopinath Munde, India's newly-appointed Rural Development Minister, has died in a car crash in the capital, Delhi, BBC News reported.
Munde was on his way to the airport to take a flight to his home state of Maharashtra when his car was hit by another vehicle, officials said. Doctors at the AIIMS hospital said he was not breathing when brought in and efforts to resuscitate him failed.
Munde, 64, was appointed just last week to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's new government.
Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari told reporters: "An accident took place earlier in the morning, following which he was taken to hospital in Delhi. Doctors declared him dead at about 8am [02:30GMT]."
Prime Minister Modi was among the first to mourn Munde's death.
"Extremely saddened and shocked by the demise of my friend and colleague Gopinath Munde. His demise is a major loss for the nation and the government," Modi tweeted. He described Munde as "a true mass leader" and said that "hailing from backward sections of society, he rose to great heights and tirelessly served people".
Munde was deputy chief minister in Maharashtra from 1995 to 1999 and elected twice to the lower house of parliament in 2009 and 2014. Reports said Munde had been on his way to Maharashtra to address a victory rally in his constituency Beed.
India has some of the most dangerous roads in the world - nearly 140,000 people died in road accidents in India in 2012, according to the government's National Crime Records Bureau.