Latur (Maharashtra), Aug 5: Veteran Congressman and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Shivajirao Patil-Nilangekar died due to age-related issues in Pune on Wednesday, family sources said here.
He was 90 and is survived by four sons – Dilip, Ashok, Vijay, Sharad, and a daughter Chandrakala Dawle, besides grandchildren including two who are Bharatiya Janata Party politicians.
Last month, Patil-Nilangekar tested Covid-19 positive and had fully recovered from it.
His body was taken to his native Nilanga village where he was accorded a funeral with full state honours in the evening in the presence of his family, Congress party workers and other leaders and officials.
Born in Nilanga village in the erstwhile Hyderabad State, Patil-Nilangekar took part in the freedom struggle and later served as the 10th Chief Minister of Maharashtra between June 1985 and March 1986.
However, he was forced to resign following Bombay High Court strictures in the MD exams marks scandal involving his daughter.
A voracious reader, classical music lover and sports enthusiast, in 1968, he had founded the Maharashtra Education Trust which runs over two dozen schools, colleges and specialised education institutions.
Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari condoled the demise of Patil-Nilangekar who he said spent all his life in the service of the people, especially the rural poor and farmers.
“He remained a popular man of the masses. As a legislator and later as CM, he made invaluable contributions to the progress and development of the state,” Koshyari said.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also expressed condolences, describing Patil-Nilangekar as “a leader who connected and guided two generations” making immense contributions to the development of the state.
“A freedom fighter with commitment and firm views, he was among the leaders who were at the forefront of the state’s development and progress of the Marathwada region,” said Thackeray.
Deputy Chief Minister and Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar said Patil-Nilangekar’s life symbolised the struggle through which he rose and the state has lost a stalwart who helped build the state with his strong political and intellectual leadership.
Congress state President and Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said that in Patil-Nilangekar’s demise, the state lost “a visionary and a disciplined leader” who strived for the state’s development.
Congress leader and MP Rahul Gandhi said that during his long political journey, Patil-Nilangekar remained fiercely committed to pro-people development.
“His involvement in India’s freedom struggle at a young age shaped his conviction to empower people. His remarkable contribution to the cooperative movement shall be remembered, and his legacy will continue to guide us,” said Gandhi.
NCP President Sharad Pawar, described Patil-Nilangekar as a tough, no-nonsense leader who created several educational institutions to provide good education to the youth in rural areas.
Ex-CM and BJP’s Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis said Patil-Nilangekar fought for the country’s freedom and was recognised as a dedicated leader.
AICC general secretary Mallikarjun Kharge, other former CMs such as Ashok Chavan and Prithviraj Chavan in separate messages, also condoled the demise of Patil-Nilangekar.