Trade union leader Purshotam Narayan Samant (91) committed suicide at his residence in Borivali on Friday. Popularly known as Dada, he was the elder brother of legendary trade union leader Datta Samant and the father-in-law of Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Jitendra Awhad.
Samant hanged himself and his body was found by his domestic help early in the morning. He left a suicide note stating he was ending his life due to his prolonged illness, police sources said.
A case of accidental death has been registered by the Dahisar police which is investigating the case. Dada Samant had taken up trade activism much before his brother Datta and had played an important role in Bombay during the first railway strike of 1960. Samant had subsequently shifted to Gwalior where he worked as a technical officer at Jiyajee Rao Cotton Mills.
He returned to erstwhile Bombay in 1981, a year before the year long textile mill workers strike of 1982 that was led by his brother Datta Samant. As per Rajni Bakshi’s book “The Long Haul” on the textile strike of 1982-83, Dada is said to have advised Datta Samant to not take up the textile issue. “Don’t take up textiles, you’ll fail miserably,” states the book quoting Dada Samant.
He however joined up with his brother and was seen as a backroom operator handling the legal paperwork of the union. He was known for his knowledge of labour laws. After his brother’s assassination in 1997 Dada headed the Kamgar Aghadi from 1997 to 2011. He is survived by his wife and three daughters one of whom is married to Maharashtra Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad.
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