Long live Dada Khatal

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At a time when politicians have been known for indulging in corruption, veteran Congress leader Bhikajirao Jijaba Khatal-Patil has set an example for being known as a clean leader in Maharashtra politics. Fondly known as Dada or Khatal Saheb, Patil is a visionary leader and a man of principles. Politicians from the current era can take a leaf out of Patil’s book to know about how to remain accountable to citizens. Patil will be felicitated by the Maharashtra government on the occasion of completing his 100 years on March 26, 2018. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis will grace the function with his presence as the Chief Guest.

Congress leader Bhai Jagtap said that Khatal Saheb is a simple and non-corrupt leader. He further said, “Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to work with him. He followed the real ideology of Congress and till date, he maintained the legacy of India’s pre-independence days. Congress has a great legacy of leaders who have fought for nation’s freedom and he is one of them. He has offered guidance to three generations. I salute him on his birthday.”

Patil had worked as a legislator in the state assembly for a period of 20 years. During his reign, Patil had held various cabinet ministries and is considered as an honest politician. He has worked hard for the welfare of the citizens and development of Maharashtra. Patil is an inspiration for the current generation of politicians who look up to him as a role model. He is known for living a simple lifestyle and has stayed away from controversies.

NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said that B J Khatal-Patil is a legend and a great leader. “He has made a significant contribution for the development of Maharashtra and we respect him. No one can forget his contribution and we need more leaders like him,” he said.

Patil had completed his Bachelor of Arts from Pune University. He also completed his LLB from ILS Law College in Pune. Later, he began his career as a lawyer. Patil had represented the Sangamner constituency and he was elected from the constituency during the 1962, 1967, 1972 and 1980 elections. In the year 1952, Patil had contested election from Sangamner for the first time. He was a staunch supporter of the ‘Samyukta Maharashtra’ movement. He has served the Maharashtra state government as Minister of State for Co- operation, Planning, Revenue etc. and later as Minister of Law and Judiciary, Food and Civil Supplies, Irrigation, PWD etc.

BJP MLA Anil Gote expressed that Patil is a man of ethics and has worked at the grassroot level, “It was a nice experience to meet him. Patil possesses a pleasant personality and he has a vision for the future. He thinks beyond party, politics and possesses vast experience in handling many portfolios in the Maharashtra government. He is a good human being and we will always respect him.”

Patil voluntarily bid adieu to politics after 1985. After retiring from politics, Patil has been practicing yoga and meditation. He often visits Vipassana Kendra in Igatpuri. He started writing books at the age of 91. On the occasion of Patil’s 92nd birthday, his first book ‘Antariche Dhave’ was published in the year 2011. Various other books written by him in Marathi language include Gulamgiri, Dinda Lokshahichi, Gandhiji Aste Tar, Lashkari Vilkhyatil Pakistan.  

Patil was born in a Maratha family on March 26, 1919 at Dhandarphal, Sangamner town in Ahmednagar District. He married Prabhavati Khatal, daughter of then Congress leader and MLA K B Deshmukh. The couple has six children. Patil had participated in India’s independence struggle. He also had participated in Gandhiji’s Non-Cooperation movement.

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