BELAGAVI: Former Union minister and noted farmer leader Babagouda Patil, who was at the forefront of farmers’ agitations, passed away on Friday, following a brief illness. He was under treatment at KLE Hospital and Medical Research Centre in Belagavi for some days.
After winning the Lok Sabha election from Belagavi in 1998, Babagouda was inducted into PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet as Minister of Rural Development. During former CM Ramakrishna Hegde’s tenure, he had achieved a feat of sorts, winning assembly polls simultaneously from Kittur and Dharwad Rural as a Raitha Sangha man. Hailing from a farmer’s family in Chikkabagewadi, Bailhongal taluk, he aspired to be an IAS officer but couldn’t clear the exam. He joined Raitha Sangha under the leadership of farmer leader M D Nanjundaswamy, in 1980s.
As Union Minister, he was instrumental in getting several rural development projects implemented. The PM’s Gram Sadak Yojana, implemented under his watch, helped link rural parts of the country to urban roads.In his message, CM B S Yediyurappa said, “A leader who was at the forefront of farmers’ agitations ... As leader of Rajya Raitha Sangha, Babagouda worked for the welfare of farmers”