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Downfall of man who could have been CM

india Updated: Jun 08, 2009 02:02 IST
HT Political Bureau

The man who would have become chief minister is now behind the bars.

Padmasinh Patil (69) was Pawar’s chief ministerial candidate when the latter moved to national politics after 1990 Lok Sabha elections when PV Narsimha Rao became prime minister.

Rao did not accept the Pawar camp’s suggestion and instead picked Sudhakarrao Naik to become Pawar’s successor as CM of Maharashtra.

For decades, Patil has been known to be Pawar’s close confidant. A distant relative, he has been with Pawar since the latter formed Congress (S) — he had merged it with the Congress and again split the party to float the NCP.

Patil gave up his practice as doctor to get into politics. He built his empire in the name of Terna, a local river. He owns Terna Cooperative Sugar Factory and Terna Charitable Trust that runs educational institutions.

A seven-time MLA from Osmanabad, Patil was a minister in successive Congress-NCP governments for a long time. He handled important portfolios such as home, energy and irrigation.

His political downfall began with the allegations of corruption made against him by social activist Anna Hazare.

Patil was accused of misappropriation and irregularities in Terna Cooperative Sugar factory and the Osmanabad district cooperative bank. Following the allegations, Pawar asked Patil to step down. The DF government appointed an inquiry commission that indicted Patil.

It made his return to the state Cabinet impossible and the NCP inducted his son Rana Jagjitsingh Patil as a minister. As Pawar was planning to win maximum seats in the Lok Sabha polls, he fielded Patil from Osmanabad.

Patil turned out to be the NCP’s only candidate who won the election in central Maharashtra. While contesting the elections, he declared assets worth over Rs 100 crore.