Former Union minister Mohan Dharia died here Monday morning at the age of 88 following a brief illness. He was cremated with full state honours. He is survived by his wife,two sons and a daughter.
Part of the Young Turks of the 60s,Dharia was among the rare breed of politicians who gave up the field to champion the cause of environment for nearly three decades.
I prefer to say goodbye without being attached to tubes,IV line or any kind of ventilator support, is what Dharia had expressed as his last wish before he died at Poona Hospital at 7.55 am. He was undergoing treatment for chronic renal failure.
Among those who attended his funeral included Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan,Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar,NCP chief Sharad Pawar,Mayor Chanchala Kodre,MP Suresh Kalmadi and RPI leader Ramdas Athavale.
Born on February 14,1925 at Nate village in Raigad district of Maharashtra,Dharia studied law from ILS College. A fierce critic of Emergency,he was the first Union minister to resign his post and join the movement led by Jayaprakash Narayan which culminated in the fall of the Indira Gandhi government and installation of the first non-Congress dispensation at the Centre under Morarji Desai in 1977.
Dharia,who was twice elected to the Lok Sabha from Pune in 1971 and 1977,was Commerce Minister under Desai.
Together with former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar and former Vice-President Krishan Kant,Dharia was among the Young Turks in the Congress party in the 1960s. Dharia was deputy chairman of the Planning Commission when Chandra Shekhar became Prime Minister in 1991.