Served as CM for 277 days, Nilangekar was second after Antulay to resign due to court ruling
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the demise of Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar’s demise on Tuesday saying “he served the state diligently, especially working for the welfare of farmers and the poor’, many remembered him for his political skills. After all, as Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief between 1991-1992, Nilangekar ensured his party bagged 38 of the 48 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
Nilangekar had a couple of other distinctions too. He is remembered as ruling the state merely for 277 days and was the second CM of Maharashtra after AR Antulay to have resigned due to indictment from the court.
Nilangekar resigned in 1986 from the post of the chief minister when the Bombay High Court passed strictures against him after “fraud” was alleged in the results of the (MD) examination of Mumbai University in 1985 “at his behest” to help his daughter Chandrakala and her friends.
“When Mumbai University declared the results of MD (obstetrics and gynaecology) examinations during November 1985, eyebrows were raised as Nilangekar’s daughter was among the other students cleared it with handsome marks,” said Chitra Lele, professor, political science at SNDT University. There were around 34 out of 47 students who cleared the exam that year.
Dr Mahesh Gosavi, an assistant medical officer at the King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital and whistle-blower smelled fishy in the case and approached the court, which eventually ruled against Nilangekar.
Interestingly, it was the same courtroom in Bombay High Court that ruled against both Nilangekar and Antulay. Around four years before the verdict on Nilangekar, the same courtroom in Bombay High Court, which convicted Antulay in “cement scam”. Antulay, eventually resigned after two years in 1982.
“Despite serving for a brief period, Nilangekar was for a long time remained a political force in Latur district, his hometown, and Marathwada region,” said Lele.
By late 1990s when Congress sidelined him, his daughter-in-law Rupa Dilip Nilangekar joined BJP and defeated father-in-law during 14th Lok Sabha polls. The late CM’s grandson Sambhaji Nilangekar, also a BJP member, was a minister in Devendra Fadnavis cabinet.
Following Nilangekar’s exit, another stalwart from Marathwada YB Chavan was made the chief minister.