In 1971, a year before the state faced its worst drought post-Independence, this visionary politician ensured price guarantee to the state’s cotton growers whose produce still accounts for 20 per cent of the country’s total cotton production.
The farmers will definitely remember Yashwantrao Jijaba Mohite, who died at 90 in Karad in western Maharashtra, on Saturday.
For, they largely owe their hard-fought survival to Mohite who started as a Leftist. He got them fair shares in market and profits through a government-run cotton purchase monopoly scheme.
It was at the then cooperation minister Mohite’s insistence that the government enacted the Raw Cotton (Procurement, Processing and Marketing) Act, 1971.
“The state will always be thankful to him for his cotton purchase monopoly scheme,” Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar who was closely associated with Mohite till his death, told the media. “Today, I have lost a father-like figure.”
In their condolence messages, senior leaders like Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and others were unanimous in saying that no government would have not been able to support cotton farmers without Mohite’s brainchild scheme.
Veteran journalist Madhukar Bhave told Hindustan Times: “He was the most progressive leader the state has ever had. He had all qualities to become CM.”
Another feather in Mohite’s cap is that he made the Cabinet guarantee jobs to starving farmers and unemployed rural folks. The state’s Employment Guarantee Scheme has now been adopted by the Centre for India.
As transport minister, his slogan ‘bus in every village’ was implemented effectively, making the state utility among India’s top three.