Senior Congress leader and former Maharashtra minister Patangrao Kadam died at a city hospital tonight after prolonged illness, his family said. The Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) also confirmed Kadam’s demise. He was 74 and is survived by his son Vishwajeet Kadam, a Youth Congress leader who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha election from Pune in 2014. His wife predeceased him. Earlier in the day, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi visited Lilavati Hospital, where Kadam had been undergoing treatment for renal dysfunction. He had been put on ventilator for the past few days as his condition remained serious.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi condoled the demise of Kadam, saying it was an “irreparable loss” to his party. “My deepest condolences on the unfortunate demise of senior Congress leader and educationist Patangrao Kadam ji. This is an irreparable loss to the Congress party. My love and support to his family in this hour of grief,” Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter. Born in a lower-middle class family in Sonsal village of Sangli district, Western Maharashtra, on January 8, 1944, Kadam completed MA and LLB degrees.
After working as a part-time teacher for some time, Kadam decided to join politics. He was elected to the state Assembly four times from Palus-Kadegaon constituency in Sangli district. Kadam contested his first Assembly election in 1980 as an Independent but lost. He managed to win in 1985 as an Independent from the seat which was known as a Congress bastion.
Kadam later joined the Congress. He founded the Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, an educational empire which is spread across the state, and also set up cooperative ginning mills and sugar mills in western Maharashtra. He held key portfolios such as cooperation, forest, relief & rehabilitation, education and industry under Congress -led governments during his decades-long political career. Kadam was chief of the MPCC for some time. The late leader also served as chairman of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC).
During his stint at MSRTC, Kadam started a scheme under which every major village in the state was connected with MSRTC bus service. His son Vishwajeet Kadam is chief of the state unit of the Youth Congress, while his elder brother Mohanrao Kadam is a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council. MPCC president Ashok Chavan condoled the death of Kadam, saying it was a big loss to the Congress in Maharashtra. “We are indebted to him for his party work,” said the former chief minister.