After a month-long battle, Laxman Unde, a first-time BJP corporator in the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), succumbed to coronavirus disease at the Aditya Birla Hospital on Saturday. He was 56 and is survived by his mother, wife and two children.
Unde, who served in the Army for 20 years, is credited with setting up the Sainik Bhavan in Dighi for former defence personnel.
A hospital spokesperson said Unde was also suffering from hypertension and died of multi-organ failure. “The cause of death is acute hypoximic respiratory failure. He had suffered acute kidney injury and was on dialysis. He had developed fungal sepsis and had Covid-19 pneumonitis,” said the spokesperson.
The spokesperson added, “The corporator was admitted to our hospital on August 27. The day he was admitted, his oxygen saturation had dipped. Three days later, he was shifted to the intensive care unit where he was put on ventilator support. All recommended treatment and support was given…”.
Unde was elected to the PCMC in the 2017 civic elections from Dighi-Bopkhel area with a margin of over 6,000 votes. “He had joined BJP on the eve of the civic elections and yet won with a considerable margin. It reflected his popularity in the area,” said BJP corporator Seema Savale.
Dighi corporator Vilas Dolas said in his short political career of three-and-a-half years as corporator, Unde had endeared himself to the masses. “He was a man known for initiatives. He worked both for local residents of his area and ex-servicemen. It was through his efforts that the first-of-its-kind Sainik Bhavan for the welfare of ex-servicemen was set up in Dighi,” said Dolas.
He said Unde brought in Army discipline in the way he worked as a corporator. “Whatever he did, he believed in doing it on time. He hated if projects got delayed or people or officials did not arrive on time. His style of functioning was so different than that of other politicians. It was like a breath of fresh air as politicians are known to turn up late or not push hard for implementing development projects,” said the corporator.
Dolas said the day he was hospitalised, Unde had told him on a video call, “What is there to fear about coronavirus…I will soon be back on my feet.”
BJP’s Pimpri-Chinchwad unit president Mahesh Landge said he had lost a “family member” and a corporator who infused discipline and values on the political pitch. “In every decision I took, Laxman Unde had a say. I always sought his advice whenever I wanted to take any major decision and his advice was never wrong,” Landge said, adding that Unde’s death was a major personal loss for him and his family.
Unde is the third corporator of the PCMC to die of Covid-19 in the last three months. Datta Sane and Javed Shaikh, both NCP leaders, succumbed to the infection earlier.
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