MUMBAI: Former Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil, 57, passed away on Monday because of multiple organ failure. He had been admitted to the Lilavati Hospital here some two months ago for treatment of organ cancer. Patil leaves behind his wife, son and a daughter. The state government has announced a day’s mourning as a mark of respect towards the deceased. And Patil’s cremation will take place in his native Tasgaon village in Sangli district with state honours. Earlier, after he was diagnosed with cancer, a surgery was performed on him at the Breach Candy Hospital here. And he had been put on life supporting system at the Lilavati Hospital after suffering multiple organ failure.
Known as the Nationalist Congress Party’s (NCP) ‘Common Man’ Patil was the party’s only leader against whom there was not a single charge of corruption. This was seen as an achievement at the time when almost each and every NCP leader stood accused of graft to the tune of several hundred crore.
Patil was the state’s longest serving Home Minister, having remained in the post for almost nine years. He was at the helm when the 10 Pakistani terrorists had sneaked into Mumbai and killed 167 people on November 24, 2008. Patil had to resign after his widely reported statement on the attack. “One or two stray attacks can take place in big cities,” he had said at that time. He came into limelight after he ran the world’s biggest cleanliness drive, Sant Gadgebaba Gram Swachchhata Abhiyan, in 1999 as the Rural Development Minister. The drive was recognised at the level of the United Nations.
He became the Deputy Chief Minister in 2004 and held the Home portfolio till December 2008. He returned to the Home Department in October 2009 and continued in the chair till October 2014, when the BJP came to power.