Himachal Pradesh BJP vice president Praveen Sharma died in Una district on Thursday morning. He was 65.
Sharma, who was the vice chairman of Himachal Pradesh Housing and Urban Development Authority (HIMUDA), died at his Amb Kaswa residence.
Hailing from Polian Purohitan village in Una district, Sharma is survived by his ailing wife, and a son.
BJP president Jagat Prakash Nadda and Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur expressed grief over his death.
Sharma was first elected as an MLA in 2003 and was made Excise and Taxation-cum-Youth Welfare and Sports minister in the PK Dhumal-led BJP government in the state. He remained a minister from 1998 to 2003.
He was at the forefront of the ABVP movement in Kangra district during his college days and was imprisoned during the emergency. He remained in jail for 18 months along with other senior BJP leaders of the state.
Sharma had close links with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the party affairs chief of Himachal Pradesh in 1998, and used to carry him on his scooter to various parts of the district during his tours.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Thakur expressed his deep shock over the demise of Sharma. In a message, he said the party has lost one of its strongest leaders who always fought for the right cause of the poor.
Former chief minister Dhumal said that the demise of Sharma was a personal loss to him and it seemed that “I have lost my soul”.
“The entire state will remember Praveen Sharma till time immemorial for his working for the organisation and the people,” he said.
The last rites of Sharma will take place later this afternoon at a crematorium near Amb Kaswa in Una.