Bhikajirao Jijaba Khatal-Patil, affectionately known as Dada or Khatal Saheb, was a renowned Indian politician and senior leader of the Indian National Congress (INC). He served as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Maharashtra for over 20 years and held several Cabinet ministries in the Maharashtra Government. He was born on March 26, 1919.
Khatal-Patil's political career began after he completed his Bachelor of Arts from Pune University and LL.B. from ILS Law College in Pune. He started his professional life as a lawyer and was active in the struggle for India's independence. He participated in the Non-cooperation Movement led by Mahatma Gandhi.
In 1952, Khatal-Patil contested the Maharashtra state assembly elections from the Sangamner constituency but lost to the then political heavyweight, Late Shri. Datta Deshmukh. He did not contest the next elections in 1957 as a protest against the Congress Party's stance on the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement. Although he did not stand as a candidate, he continued to support the party.
Khatal-Patil's fortunes changed in 1962 when he was elected to the Maharashtra legislative assembly from Sangamner. He became a Minister soon after his election and went on to serve in the Maharashtra Cabinet for over 16 years, serving under five different Chief Ministers, including Shri. Yashwantrao Chavan, Shri. Marotrao Kannamwar, Shri Vasantrao Naik, Shri. Shankarrao Chavan, and Barrister A. R. Antulay.
In 1980, Congress (I) won a majority in Parliament, and Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister of India. The Congress (I) also came to power in Maharashtra State, and Barrister A. R. Antulay became the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Khatal-Patil was appointed the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies and was the senior-most member of the Cabinet, second only to the Chief Minister himself.
Khatal-Patil retired from politics in 1985, having voluntarily decided not to contest any more elections after 1980. After his retirement, he focused on yoga and meditation, frequently visiting the Vipasana Kendra in Igatpuri.
Bhikajirao Jijaba Khatal-Patil was a prominent Indian politician who dedicated his life to serving the people of Maharashtra. His legacy is remembered for his contributions to Maharashtra's development and the Indian National Congress party.
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