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BJP MP Girish Bapat passes away after prolonged illness

PUNE: BJP Lok Sabha member from Pune and former Maharashtra minister Girish Bapat passed away at a hospital here on Wednesday after a prolonged illness, party sources said. The 72-year-old BJP leader, ailing for the last one-and-a-half years, was admitted to the ICU of Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in critical condition and was on life support.

”Today is a sad day. Senior BJP leader and MP Girish Bapat left us today. For the last one and half years, he was undergoing treatment,” said Jagdish Mulik, BJP city unit president.

Bapat’s last rites will be performed at Vaikunth crematorium in the evening.

He had served as the MLA from Kasba Peth constituency in Pune five times. He was elected to Lok Sabha in 2019. Condoling Bapat’s death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was a humble and hardworking leader who served society diligently and worked extensively for the development of Maharashtra and was passionate about the growth of Pune.

”His passing away is saddening. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti,” Modi tweeted.

Bapat’s last public appearance was on February 26 when he cast vote for the Kasba Peth Assembly bypoll sitting in a wheelchair with his nasal cannula on. The Opposition then accused the BJP of playing with Bapat’s health. Despite his ill health, Bapat had addressed BJP workers briefly at Kesariwada. The senior BJP leader enjoyed a good rapport with Opposition leaders as well and was looked upon as a mentor by many politicians from Pune district.

”In his long political career of four decades, Bapat always took an all-inclusive stand”. The news of his demise is extremely saddening,” NCP chief Sharad Pawar tweeted. After winning the Kasba Peth bypoll, Congress candidate Ravindra Dhangekar visited Bapat’s residence to seek his blessings. Maharashtra BJP president Chandrashekhar Bawankule said Bapat’s demise is a big loss for the party.

Senior BJP leader and Maharashtra cabinet minister Chandrakant Patil said Bapat was like a guru and a father figure.

”It is like losing a father figure from your life. His friendship across the party lines and contacts with people and party workers were unparallel. He was dedicated to the party and its growth. His demise is a huge loss to the party,” Patil said.

Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar said Pune district has lost a leader who believed in taking everyone along.

”In Bapat’s death, a cultured face of politics has lost,” he said in a statement.

BJP Rajya Sabha member and former Union minister Prakash Javadekar, who hails from Pune, said Maharashtra has lost an honest party worker in Bapat.

”I and Bapat were together since schooling days and today I am saddened after our companionship of 58 years ended today,” he said.

Javadekar said Bapat rose through the ranks in public life. He had served as the head of the standing committee in Pune municipal corporation (PMC) and went on to become an MLA and an MP. ”He always highlighted issues concerning Pune,” he said.

Born on September 3, 1950, in Talegaon Dabhade in Pune district, Bapat worked with the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh in his initial years. During the Emergency, he was lodged in Nashik jail for 19 months. He became a corporator of PMC in 1983 and after 12 years he was elected as MLA from the Kasba Peth constituency. He served as the Minister for Food, Civil Supplies, Consumer Protection, Food and Drugs Administration, and Parliamentary Affairs in the then Maharashtra government headed by Devendra Fadnavis (2014-19). NCP leader from Pune, Ankush Kakade, who is closely associated with Bapat, said the late MP enjoyed cordial relations across the party lines. ”I, Bapat, and Congress leader Shantilal Suratwala were close friends for the last 30 to 40 years. I am saddened that our association for all these years has ended today. For the last several days, he was suffering from ailments and was undergoing dialysis at the hospital,” he said.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis are likely to come to Pune to pay tributes to Bapat.

The mortal remains of Bapat will be kept at his residence in Shaniwar Peth between 2 pm and 6 pm.

”An all-inclusive, generous leadership is lost. While fighting the illness, Bapat worked towards giving energy to his party, and as an MLA, MP, and minister, he always took a lead to address the issues of the common people. He had friendships across the party lines and had a great people connect,” CM Shinde said in his condolence message.

During his visit to Pune city last month, Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited Bapat at his home.

 

Source: Press Trust of India

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