Maharashtra: Former Union and State Minister Babanrao Dhakne died after a brief illness at a private hospital in Ahmednagar, his associates said on Friday. Dhakne was 86 and is survived by his younger son and daughter-in-law who are both independent political leaders.
He was the Minister of State for Energy in the government of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, and had also handled several key ministries in Maharashtra besides serving as Leader of Opposition and Deputy Speaker of Assembly.
Dhakne Was Suffering From Prolonged Illness
According to an associate, Dhakne was suffering from pneumonia and other illnesses for which he was admitted to a local hospital three weeks ago. However, during treatment, his condition suddenly deteriorated and he breathed his last late Thursday night after suffering a heart attack.
The leader's mortal remains shall be kept for public 'darshan' on Friday and the funeral rites shall be performed on Saturday afternoon at Pagori-Pimpalgaon village in Ahmednagar.
As a young student, Dhakne had carried out his first political agitation in 1951 and had met the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru after which he plunged fulltime into politics.
Dhakne's Political Journey
Over the years, he was associated with several parties like Congress, Janata Party, Janata Dal, Nationalist Congress Party and enjoyed close rapport with former PMs like Indira Gandhi, V. P. Singh and other bigwigs in the Centre and state politics.
He actively took up the causes of the Goa Liberation Movement, peasants, workers, labourers, sugarcane farmers, unemployed youth and carried out several campaigns, sit-ins and demonstrations for them all his life.
NCP Working President Supriya Sule and other leaders have expressed grief over the demise of Dhakne, describing him as "an honest leader of the common masses" and his passing has snapped the links with the old era of leadership.