Shiv Sena leader Sudhir Joshi no more; ‘lost one of party’s jewels’, says Raut
Sudhir Joshi was one of the few leaders who were involved when the Shiv Sena was established by Bal Thackeray in 1966.
Mumbai: Former Maharashtra minister and senior Shiv Sena leader Sudhir Joshi, 81, passed away on Thursday evening in Mumbai. Joshi was one of the founder members of the party and was in the zone of consideration for the post of the chief minister when the party formed the alliance government with BJP in 1995.
Joshi was unwell for a few weeks after having tested positive for Covid-19 and was admitted to a city hospital. He was discharged from the hospital on Monday, but his condition remained critical, party insiders said.
Joshi was one of the few leaders who were involved when the Shiv Sena was established by Bal Thackeray in 1966. He was instrumental in getting the party to the middle-class households in Mumbai and surrounding areas.
Besides heading the revenue and the school education departments in the Manohar Joshi government in the mid-1990s, Joshi had also served as the Mayor of Mumbai in 1973-74. He was first elected to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in 1968. In 1986, he was elected as a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC).
Joshi headed the Sthaniya Lokadhikar Samiti, the party’s wing that fought for jobs for sons of the soil in large public and private sector undertakings. The body took Shiv Sena deeper into the service-class strata of Mumbai.
Shiv Sena chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut lauded Joshi’s contribution to the party and in the Maharashtra government, adding that the party has lost a jewel with his demise. “Sudhir bhau Joshi was a close colleague of Balasaheb in the early days. He was unwell for long period, but he was still very active. His biggest contribution was setting up Lokadhikar Samiti, which changed the face of the party. He strived for the Marathi youth so that they got skilled, trained and employed. His model for sons-of-the-soil agenda was followed by rest of the country,” Raut said.
Senior BJP leader and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, in a series of tweets, said that Joshi’s contribution to the labour and consumer movement was invaluable. “He was one of the loyal colleagues who worked with Hinduhriday Samrat Balasaheb Thackeray. I pay my respects to him and share the grief with the family,” he wrote.