INDIA. Mumbai: Senior BJP Leader and MP Girish Bapat passed away following a prolonged illness at the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Pune, Maharashtra, on Wednesday. He was 73 and is survived by his wife, son, and daughter-in-law.
His mortal remains will be kept at his residence in Shaniwar Peth until 6 p.m., and last rites will be performed at 7 p.m. at the Vaikunth Crematorium, his family sources said.
He had been suffering from breathing problems for the last one and a half years and had been undergoing dialysis at the hospital. He had been on life support since Wednesday morning.
Bapat was elected as an MLA from the Kasba Peth constituency five times, after which he became an MP from Pune in 2019. Mukta Tilak replaced Bapat as the MLA in the constituency.
The BJP lost the recently concluded by-elections, necessitated after Tilak’s untimely death. Bapat was largely out of the campaign due to ill health. Yet he had attended one of the campaign rallies while sitting in a wheelchair with a nasal cannula.
He completed his B.Com. from the B.M.C.C. College of Commerce, Pune, Maharashtra, and worked for Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company for some time. He joined as a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh worker and was put in jail during the internal emergency in India in 1975. His political career began when he was appointed Secretary of the Pune City BJP in 1980.
In 1983, Bapat entered politics and was elected to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) as a corporator. He became an MLA for the first time in 1995 and was re-elected for the next four terms.
Bapat served as the Cabinet minister for food, civil supplies, consumer protection, food and drug administration, and parliamentary affairs in the 2014–19 Devendra Fadnavis-led BJP government in Maharashtra. He was also Pune’s guardian minister at this time.
During his treatment, senior politicians, including NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, and Deputy Chief Minister Fadnavis, visited Bapat to enquire about his health. Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited his house last month.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences on the demise of Girish Bapat. “He worked extensively for the development of Maharashtra and was particularly passionate about Pune’s growth.” “His passing away is saddening,” tweeted PM Modi.
Sharad Pawar tweeted, “In his long political career of four decades, Bapat always took an all-inclusive stand.” In a tweet, BJP leader Harshvardhan Patil said, “Pune Lok Sabha BJP MP and former state minister Girishji Bapat passed away today.” My heartfelt tributes to him
Maharashtra unit president Chandrashekhar Bawankule called the demise of Girish Bapat a big loss for the Bhartiya Janata Party. Several leaders have paid their tributes and expressed grief over the demise of the 73-year-old leader from Pune.