Veteran Congress leader Prabhakar Kunte no more

FPJ BureauUpdated: Sunday, June 02, 2019, 01:54 AM IST
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Mumbai: Freedom fighter, veteran Congress leader and former minister Prabhakar Kunte passed away on Wednesday at the age of 92, family sources said. It was a tragic coincidence that a freedom fighter like Kunte expired on Independence Day. Kunte, who is survived by his wife, was not keeping well for quite some time and was being treated at home.

He was elected from the Dharavi Assembly constituency and worked as the minister of state for housing in the Shankarrao Chavan government in 1972. He played a major role in providing affordable housing to the common man in Mumbai and rehabilitation of slums. Kunte had actively participated in the Quit India movement of 1942 and was even jailed by the British. The veteran Congressman took part in the Samyukta Maharashtra agitation during 1955- 1960 and the liberation of Goa in 1961.

He was speaker of Legislative Assembly from 1952 to 1956. He was a leading trade union leader and was also elected to the Bombay Municipal Corporation.

Kunte, however, lost by a narrow margin from Dharavi in 1978, which was declared as a ” reserved” constituency for 1980 elections. Kunte then contested from Mahim where he was defeated by five- time legislator F M Pinto who contested as an Independent.

Kunte also served as the Chairman of the Bombay Housing Board ( BMRDA), the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Board ( MHADA) and the Khadi and Village Industries Commission ( KVIC).

He also lost 1987 assembly election, this time from the Vile Parle seat in Mumbai, to Shiv Senas Ramesh Prabhu after a vigorous campaign by Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray based on the Hindutva issue.

Kunte then moved the Bombay High Court, accusing Prabhu of electoral malpractices.

The case then landed in the Supreme Court, which in its 1996 judgment debarred Thackeray from contesting or voting in elections for a period of six years. Kunte was also the founder of Raigad Military School.

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