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Union environment minister and BJP strategist, Anil Dave passes away at 60

Union environment minister Anil Madhav Dave, known for his missionary zeal for conservation of rivers, particularly the Narmada, died of cardiac arrest in New Delhi on Thursday morning. He was 60 and a bachelor.

Dave was passionate about conservation of river Narmada — lifelines of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat — from his early days. He had set up NGO “Narmada Samagra” to work towards conservation of the river.

“He had flown a Cessna aircraft over river Narmada to make aerial survey of the river for the purpose of conservation of the water body. It was followed by a solo voyage in the river by a raft.

He was so much in love with the river that he desired his last rites to be performed on the bank of the Narmada,” BJP spokesman Raneesh Agrawal, who had a long association with the suave politician, told this newspaper.

“If possible, my cremation should be performed on the banks of river Narmada at Bandrabhan (in Hosangabad district in MP),” Mr Agrawal said, quoting Dave’s will.

No wonder, he had christened his three-storey house here as “Nadi Ka Ghar (house of rivers)”.

He has authored eight books in Hindi and English which dwelt on environmental issues such as global warming and good governance.

Born at Barnagar in MP ‘s Ujjain district on July 6, 1956, Dave completed his post-graduation in commerce in Gujarati College in Indore, MP, and later joined the RSS as a “pracharak”.

He was also known as a master poll strategist. He was credited with bringing back the BJP to power in MP by defeating the Congress, led by Digvijay Singh, in 2003 and helping the party retain power in the state till now by winning successive polls since then.

His body was flown here from New Delhi on Thursday evening.

PM Narendra Modi expressed his shock over the “sudden demise of my friend and very respected colleague, environment minister Anil Madhav Daveji”.

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