Vasant Davkhare laid to rest in Thane, political leaders pay their respectsUpdated: Jan 06, 2018 01:20 IST
Once a key Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader in Thane, Vasant Davkhare’s political future was cut short because of health complications that led to his demise on Thursday night.
A close associate of party president Sharad Pawar, Davkhare had close friends across the political spectrum. He also shared cordial relations with former Sena chief, late Bal Thackeray. This was why he was elected the Member of Legislative Council (MLC) from the Thane local constituency for 24 consecutive years, despite the fact that Shiv Sena ruled the municipal corporation.
Davkhare passed away on Thursday at Bombay Hospital, after a long battle of around 45 days. He was suffering from renal failure and heart ailments, and had been on ventilator support. He was laid to rest with full state honour at the Jawahar Baugh crematorium in Thane on Friday evening.
Senior leaders from various political parties reached Thane to pay their last respects, including chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray among others.
Davkhare was among the first few leaders who resigned from Congress to join NCP after it was formed in 1999. “Feeling sad as I have lost a loyal and close associate, who has left an imprint in public life with his work. His ideology was beyond controversy and thus, was popular among all the political parties,” Pawar said.
Fadnavis said, “Davkhare was a friend to everyone and had no enemies, his loss will be greatly felt. He efficiently handled the proceedings of the legislative council. He never expressed his sorrow and had a permanent smile on his face. I have worked closely with him for many years, and have many fond memories of him.”
Coming from a family of vegetable vendors from Shirur in Pune district, Davkhare joined politics in 1986 and was elected as a Congress corporator from Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC). He got elected as the mayor of Thane the very next year, despite the fact that Shiv Sena was in majority. He was then elected as member of the legislative council for the first time from Thane local body constituency in 1992.
In 1998, he was elected the deputy chairman of the legislative council, and held the position for 18 years. “It’s a record in the history of the legislative council, that a person held the post of deputy chairman for three consecutive terms,” said Anant Kalse, principal secretary, state legislature.
In 2010, he got re-elected unopposed as the deputy chairman of the legislative council, after Shiv Sena withdrew nomination of its candidate Ramesh Jadhav.
“His health was not supporting him and although he liked to be proactive, Davkhare was forced to lay low. He has also got a kidney transplant, but because of his frequent travelling, he suffered several infections,” said Munaf Hakim, senior party leader and former chairman of state minorities commission.