MUMBAI: Former minister and senior Congress leader B J Khatal Patil breathed his last in the wee hours of Monday at his residence in Sangamner of Ahmednagar district. He was 101.
He was cremated with full state honours.
Born on March 26, 1919, Khatal became a famous lawyer in the left bastion of Sangamner by 1943. His popularity won him Congress ticket in 1952, but the first election was unsuccessful. He had supported Samyukta Maharashtra movement and didn’t contest 1957 election as his personal stand contradicted party line. After the formation of Maharashtra, he contested and won. He won all the elections until 1985 except in 1977. In 1985, at the age of 66, he opted to retire from electoral politics though the party wanted him to contest. As minister, he efficiently handled departments like irrigation, agriculture, planning, cooperatives, food and supplies, law and judiciary, information and broadcasting, transport under five different Chief Ministers.
Maximum dams in Maharashtra were built during his tenure. His strict discipline, principled approach and honest lent him different identity in the state politics.
He had started first Sugar mill in Sangamner in 1969.
He was so principled that he never even let his family members use his government vehicle while he was minister. He spent the rest of life pursuing his interests that included Vipasana. He started writing books at the age of 93. He wrote Seven books with latest being published last week.