Maharashtra agriculture Minister Pandurang Phundkar died of heart attack in Mumbai. He was 67.
Phundkar was admitted to the KJ Somaiya Hospital on Wednesday, where his condition deteriorated. He breathed his last at around 4.35 am.
Top BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, expressed grief and shock over the minister’s death. They rushed to the hospital to pay last respects and meet Phundkar’s family.
Phundkar’s body was flown to his native village, Khamgoan, in Buldhana district, which was also his constituency in the Vidarbha region.
Fadnavis said, “It is an extremely sad day… Pandurang Phundkar was our most respected leader and cabinet colleague. We always looked forward to his experience and guidance, specially in the field of agriculture and issues related to farmers.”
Phundkar was associated with the ABVP during his college days. He was arrested during the Emergency and was imprisoned at Akola Jail for nine months.
He rose through the ranks from the grassroots, beginning from district level politics. He was the Maharashtra BJP president between 2000 and 2003.
His funeral will take place on Friday.