Former Junnar MLA Vallabh Benke passed away on Sunday at 10:30pm after a brief illness. He was 74 years old and was considered a loyalist to Sharad Pawar. Benke contested six times from the Junnar Assembly constituency between 1985 and 2009, winning four times. Due to health reasons, he had been inactive in politics since 2014. His son, Atul Benke, currently serves as the MLA from Junnar.
Following his demise, several political leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Baramati MP Supriya Sule, Shirur MP Amol Kolhe, and others, expressed their condolences.
Pawar wrote on X (formerly Twitter), "With the death of former NCP MLA Vallabhsheth Benke, an accomplished leader who fought for farmers and labourers and played an important role in the development of Junnar taluka and Pune district has been lost. The political, social, and cooperative sectors of Pune district have suffered a great loss. I pay my heartfelt tribute to him."
Sule said, "Benke was known as a skilled organiser and a leader who understood the issues of farmers. For the past few days, he was not active in politics due to illness. My condolences are with Vallabhsheth's son Atul and the Benke family at this difficult time. May God rest his soul in eternal peace. A heartfelt tribute."
Kolhe expressed, "The news of the death of Vallabhsheth Benke, former MLA of Junnar, is very sad. With the passing away of Benke, who represented Junnar taluka four times, the skillful organiser of the taluka, the scholarly leadership who knew the problems of the farmers passed away. On this occasion, I share in the grief of the Benke family."