Mumbai: A Communist Party of India member and nine-term corporator of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Manishankar Kawathe (91) expired on Thursday. Kawathe was the former corporator from Worli village civic ward and represented Koli, fisherfolk community in the year 1957 for the first time.
Prakash Reddy leader of CPI Mumbai spoke fondly of Kawathe who was a powerful leader. “He was a militant, fighter and at the age of 15, in the year 1942, he was an active participant in the freedom struggle movement of India. In fact, due to his revolting nature, he was declared tadipar (fugitive) and was sent to Konkan. After a few years, he returned to Mumbai and was a CPI comrade. Kawathe was the one who first brought the development in the otherwise deprived gaonthans where the fisherfolk live in Worli.”
He wanted to start a bank for women in the same constituency, but since he got no permission from the authorities, he instead got a school built and is called as Janta School, which is open these days.
Nyaneshwar Gavde, ex-corporator from Shiv Sena who worked with Kawathe said he was a grounded man.
“He was a simple man and not extrovert. He used to carry a briefcase in those days to store files safely. Also when I was an education committee chairman Kawathe called me as a chief guest to give a talk to the students on the importance of education.”
Along with Kawathe, three other corporators from CPI were elected in the BMC. The other three corporators were from Sewri civic ward Babu Shelar, Jaywant Patil from Prabhadevi and Narayan Ghagare from Kalachowki Abhyudaya Nagar who were elected.