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Bhairon Singh Shekhawat (23 October 1923 – 15 May 2010) was the 11th Vice-President of India. He served in that position from August 2002, when he was elected to a five-year term by the electoral college following the death of Krishan Kant, until he resigned on July 21, 2007, after losing the presidential election to Pratibha Patil. Shekhawat was a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a leading member of the National Democratic Alliance at the time of election. He served as the Chief Minister of Rajasthan three times, from 1977 to 1980, 1990 to 1992 and 1993 to 1998.

Shekhawat started the “Antyoday Yojna” scheme, which was intended to uplift the poorest of the poor. The chairman of the World Bank, Robert McNamara, referred to him as the Rockefeller of India. Shekhawat was also known for his control over bureaucracy and the police. He had involvement in policies designed to improve literacy and industrialisation in Rajasthan, as well as tourism centred on the themes of heritage, wildlife and villages. He was also lauded by both, national and international leaders for his historic conduct of the Rajya Sabha.

Bhairon Singh Shekhawat succumbed to cancer and age-related health problems, dying on 15 May 2010 at the Sawai Man Singh Hospital in Jaipur. He was cremated the next day, at a plot of land provided by the government of Rajasthan, where his memorial is now built. His funeral was attended by thousands of people from across the country including the who’s who of India. His last rites were performed by his grandsons Vikramaditya and Abhimanyu Singh Rajvi. He was survived by his wife Suraj Kanwar, only daughter Ratan Kanwar who is married to BJP leader Narpat Singh Rajvi and granddaughter Mumal.

His wife Suraj Kanwar died on 9 March 2014 at age 86 and was cremated at Shekhawat’s memorial as per her last wish. Her funeral was attended by a huge gathering including all political dignitaries of the state. Her last rites were also performed by her grandsons Vikramaditya and Abhimanyu Singh Rajvi.