Veteran socialist leader, freedom fighter and former state minister Bhai Vaidya passed away on Monday after a brief illness. He was 89. He had been admitted to Poona hospital after he was diagnosed with cancer three weeks ago after complaining of breathlessness. Few months ago, he had undergone Angioplasty. Vaidya was born on June 22, 1928 in Dapode village near Velhe in Pune district. He did his postgraduation in Social Science and Political Science.
He had participated in the Quit India movement in 1942, Goa freedom struggle and united Maharashtra movement. He was jailed 25 times during various movements. During the Emergency, he had served 19 months in jail. Even at the age of 88, he was arrested after he took part in the agitation for “educational rights”. He was fondly addressed as “Bhai Vaidya”. Vaidya, who believed in value-based politics, had also participated in the 4,000-km padyatra from Delhi to Kanyakumari undertaken by Chandrashekhar in the eighties.
“As Home Minister, he had taken the initiative that police should shun shorts and don a pair of trousers,” said a close aide.
Vaidya was mayor of the city and, during his tenure, had held a public rally against the Emergency. He was corporator of Pune Municipal Corporation from 1962 to 1978 and was mayor in 1974-75. He was a member of various committee in the civic body.