Mumbai: BJP leader Jayawantiben Mehta, who was a minister in the Vajpayee government from 1996 to 1999, passed away here today after a brief illness. She was 78.
Mehta rose in the BJP ranks to become a corporator, legislator and an MP who defeated late Murli Deora from South Mumbai Lok Sabha constituency.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, in his condolence message, described her as a grassroots worker and leader.
Jayawantiben was a mass leader of BJP-Janasangh and taught me leadership in public service, BJP MP Kirit Somaiya said.
The cremation of the former Minister of State for Power, who died at 1.25 AM, will take place at 5.30 PM today at the Shivaji Park crematorium, Maharashtra BJP spokesperson Keshav Upadhye told PTI.
After her foray in politics in 1962, Mehta was elected corporator in 1968 and reelected for another term.
During the Emergency in 1975, she was imprisoned for 19 months. In 1978, she was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and served two terms up to 1985.
In 1980, she became a member of the BJP national executive and in 1988, was made the party's Secretary.
In 1989, she was first elected to the Lok Sabha and reelected in 1996 and 1999.
She represented the Mumbai North East constituency in the 9th Lok Sabha in 1989 and Mumbai South constituency in the 11th and 13th Lok Sabha in 1996 and 1999.
She served as President of Mahila Morcha of BJP (1991-1995) and as Vice President of BJP (1993-1995).