Former Maharashtra CM Joshi passes away at 86

The Asian Age.  | Sonu Shrivastava

Metros, Mumbai

Joshi's mortal remains were kept at his Matunga home where his supporters and leaders have gone to pay their last respects

Family members, relatives and others during the funeral of former Maharashtra chief minister Manohar Joshi, at the Shivaji Park crematorium, in Mumbai, Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. (PTI Photo)

Mumbai: Former Lok Sabha Speaker and Maharashtra chief minister Manohar Joshi died in the wee hours of Friday at a private hospital in Mumbai. and  He was 86 years old. Joshi's mortal remains were kept at his Matunga home where his supporters and leaders have gone to pay their last respects. In the evening, Mr Joshi's funeral was held at Shivaji Park Crematorium in Dadar. He was accorded state honour.

According to the hospital, Mr. Joshi on Wednesday had a cardiac arrest. He was severely ill and under constant observation of expert doctors in an ICU (Intensive Care Unit) of the hospital. “He was receiving the best treatment. Unfortunately, he passed away today,” reads the statement issued by the hospital.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah and other political leaders cutting across party lines expressed sorrow over the death of Joshi and paid rich tributes to him. Maharashtra governor Ramesh Bais and chief minister Eknath Shinde laid wreaths on the mortal remains of the former chief minister of Maharashtra.

Joshi, who was a veteran Shiv Sena leader and close aide of the Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, had served in many capacities from mayor to chief minister to Lok Sabha speaker. He became the first chief minister of the undivided Shiv Sena during 1995-1999. Subsequently, he was also elected as a member of Lok Sabha in 1999 and served as the Union Heavy Industries Minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee's regime from 1999 to 2002. Post this, he served as the Lok Sabha Speaker from 2002 to 2004. He was also a Member of Rajya Sabha from 2006 to 2012.

Mr. Joshi, who was also affectionately called as Joshi Sir in Maharashtra, was born on December 2, 1937, at Nandavi in Raigad district of the coastal Konkan region of the state. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the prestigious Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) in Mumbai. He had started his career as a teacher and entered politics in 1967.

Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray remembered Mr. Joshi was committed Shiv Sainik and always stood by Bala Saheb Thackeray. “Manohar Joshi was a loyal and committed Shiv Sainik. During tough times, he stood by Balasaheb Thackeray,” he said.   

Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde said that Joshi Sir was a disciplined leader. “His contribution for the development of Maharashtra is huge…When I became the chief minister, I went to take his blessings at his home. He guided me. In true sense, he carried forward the legacy of Balasaheb Thackeray,” Mr. Shinde said.