President Ram Nath Kovind and prime minister Narendra Modi led the tributes as corporates and political leaders expressed their grief over the death of Rahul Bajaj, the former chairman of Bajaj Group, who died on Saturday afternoon in Pune, aged 83 years.
“Saddened to learn of Shri Rahul Bajaj’s demise. A doyen of Indian industry, he was passionate about its priorities,” read a tweet from the president’s official Twitter handle.
Mr Bajaj was not keeping well for quite some time and passed away at around 1430 hrs on Saturday, a company official was quoted as saying by PTI. His last rites will be held on Sunday, February 13.
He is survived by two sons, Rajiv Bajaj and Sanjiv Bajaj, and a daughter Sunaina Kejriwal.
Mr Rahul Bajaj resigned from his position of non-executive director and chairman at Bajaj Auto on April 30 last year.
Read Mr Kovind’s tweet here.
Saddened to learn of Shri Rahul Bajaj’s demise. A doyen of Indian industry, he was passionate about its priorities. His career reflected the rise and innate strength of the nation’s corporate sector. His death leaves a void in the world of industry. My condolences to his family.
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) February 12, 2022
Prime minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet that “Shri Rahul Bajaj Ji will be remembered for his noteworthy contributions to the world of commerce and industry. Beyond business, he was passionate about community service and was a great conversationalist. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti”.
Shri Rahul Bajaj Ji will be remembered for his noteworthy contributions to the world of commerce and industry. Beyond business, he was passionate about community service and was a great conversationalist. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 12, 2022
Mr Bajaj had pneumonia and also a heart problem. He was admitted to the hospital for last one month, said Dr Purvez Grant, the managing trustee at Ruby Hall Clinic.
Born on June 10, 1938, Rahul Bajaj acted as the chairman of the Bajaj Group for over 40 years. He resigned as the chairman of Bajaj Auto in April last year and was currently the Chairman Emeritus of the firm.
He was awarded with the third-highest civilian award Padma Bhushan in 2001. Mr Bajaj also served as a Rajya Sabha MP.
“It is with deep sorrow that I inform you about the passing away of Shri Rahul Bajaj, husband of the late Rupa Bajaj and father of Rajiv/Deepa, Sanjiv/Shefali and Sunaina/Manish. He passed away on the afternoon of 12th February, 2022 in the presence of his closest family members,” a statement from Bajaj Group read.
Executive chairperson of Biocon Limited, Kiran Majumdar Shaw, a close friend of the late industrialist, said in a tweet that she was “devastated” at Mr Bajaj’s death and that the nation had lost a “great son” and a “nation builder”.
Industrialist Rahul Bajaj, Former Chairman Of Bajaj Group, Dies At 83 – I am devastated – he was a dear friend and will miss him dearly. The country has lost a great son & nation builder. Om Shanthi???? https://t.co/s8kpQ3dUia
— Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (@kiranshaw) February 12, 2022
Managing director and CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank, Uday Kotak described Mr Bajaj as “bold and fearless” who “spoke truth to power”. Mr Bajaj will be missed, he tweeted.
Rahul Bajaj: bold and fearless. A rare businessman who spoke truth to power. A proud Indian. Built world class enterprise. I am truly honored to know him. Will miss him. pic.twitter.com/UpVMh0z7R1
— Uday Kotak (@udaykotak) February 12, 2022
Chairman of RPG Group, Harsh Goenka described Mr Bajaj’s demise as “cracking” of Indian business’ “spine”, while calling him a “visionary”, whose death marks the end of an era.
The ‘spine’ of Indian business cracks. A close family friend, he was a visionary, straight talking and very respected for his value systems. An era ends! He leaves behind the two most capable sons in Indian industry, Rajiv and Sanjiv. #RahulBajaj Om shanti… pic.twitter.com/IziHS03I0D
— Harsh Goenka (@hvgoenka) February 12, 2022
Union minister Nitin Gadkari and several leaders cutting across party lines took to social media to express their shock and grief on the death of the veteran business leader.
Mr Gadkari tweeted his heartfelt tributes to Mr Bajaj, adding that he had known the former Bajaj Group chairman for many years.
My heartfelt tributes to Rahul Bajaj ji, a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and former chairman of Bajaj. I have had a personal relationship with Padma Bhushan awardee Rahul ji for many years.
— Nitin Gadkari (@nitin_gadkari) February 12, 2022
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi described Mr Bajaj’s death as a “big loss”. Read his tweet here.
Rahul Bajaj’s passing is a big loss to India. We have lost a visionary whose courage made us proud.
My love and condolences to his family and loved ones. pic.twitter.com/SnWJpYDV85
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 12, 2022
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar tweeted that he was “deeply shocked to learn about the sad demise of Padma Bhushan Shri Rahul Bajaj! The grandson of eminent freedom fighter Jamnalal Bajaj brought transformation in society especially in poor and middle-class people with his two-wheel technology – a Bajaj Bike!”
I am deeply shocked to learn about the sad demise of Padma Bhushan Shri Rahul Bajaj! The grandson of eminent freedom fighter Jamnalal Bajaj brought transformation in society especially in poor and middle-class people with his two-wheel technology – a Bajaj Bike!
— Sharad Pawar (@PawarSpeaks) February 12, 2022
Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram while tweeting his condolences on Mr Bajaj’s death, described him as a “far sighted” and “outspoken business leader” who “put average Indians on two motorised wheels”.
This is what he tweeted.
Rahul Bajaj was the one who put average Indians on two motorized wheels.
In his passing away, we have lost a far sighted and outspoken business leader.
My sincere condolences to his family and numerous members of the Bajaj family and Bajaj group of business.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) February 12, 2022
Chief minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot, Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin and Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai also condoled the industrialist’s death.