Senior Congress leader and former union minister Balasaheb Vikhe Patil passed away at his residence in Ahmednagar after a prolonged illness. He was 84.
Vikhe Patil was battling renal failure for the past year, sources said. For the past six months, he was being treated at his Pravaranagar residence. He is survived by three sons, including Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil.
Considered a veteran in the cooperative sector, Vikhe Patil served as Union minister of State for Finance in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee cabinet. During that time, he Patil was with the Shiv Sena party.
“It’s a big loss to the Congress party and to me personally,” said Congress leader Patangrao Kadam.
Maharashtra cooperative minister, Subhash Deshmukh, said, Vikhe Patil’s death had created a vaccum in the cooperative sector.
Several senior politicians took to Twitter to express grief over the leader’s death.
“Shri Balasaheb Vikhe Patil was a mass leader whose work in agriculture, rural development, education & cooperatives will be remembered,” PM Narendra Modi tweeted.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar said: “Saddened by the demise of the former minister and committed politician Padmabhushan Balasaheb Vikhe Patil. We have lost a genuine leader who spoke for farmers and represented cooperative movement in Lok Sabha.
Railways minister Suresh Prabhu said, “Veteran co-operator,Sr leader, longtime friend #Balasaheb Vikhe-Patil passes away. Condolences to @RVikhePatil, his family. RIP”