Vasant Dada Patil  The Fifth Chief Minister Of Maharashtra

Vasantdada Patil (November 13, 1917 - March 1, 1989) was an Indian politician from Sangli, Maharashtra. He was known as the first modern Maratha strongman and first mass leader in Maharashtra's politics.

He was the Chief Minister of Maharashtra from May 17, 1977 to July 18, 1978 and again from February 2, 1983 to June 1, 1985. He also served as Governor of Rajasthan from 1985 to 1987.

Born on 13th Nov 1917 at 'Padmale' 3 km (2 miles) from Sangli, his native village. He studied up to the vernacular final. Then he took interest in his farm. He worked there and faced many problems.

Freedom fighter

He took part in freedom struggle. In 1942, Mahatma Gandhi started the Satyagraha movement. Vinoba Bhave was the first satyagrahi from Tasgaon Vasantdada. For this he was jailed by the British government. In jail, he came under the influence of people like Babasaheb Kher, Sardar Patel and others.

He was also influenced by Netaji Subhashchandra Bose and he believed that only satyagraha, morchas or people's movements would not get freedom. So he looted railways, merchants, got guns and revolvers from Goa. Many criminal cases were filled against him. The British govt. declared a prize of Rs.1000 for him. He tried to escape from the jail but was badly injured. He was then sentenced to 13 years imprisonment.

Political career

On 25 April 1946 he was released and was welcomed by Sangli people. After independence he started working on farmers' problems. He established a Market Committee in 1951, with the main intention of giving proper prices to agriculture products. In 1958, he started the largest Co-operative Sugar factory on 90 acres (360,000 m2) of land. In 1960, he started an Industrial Society on 135 acres (0.55 km2) land. ITI were started to give technical training to youth. He made efforts to increase irrigation in Sangli. In 1960 he became the Chief promoter of Groundnut Processors Co-operative Society.

In the field of education he was Chairman of Latthe Education Society. He started Miraj Medical College, Civil hospital, Akashwani (All India Radio station) at Sangli.

While active in politics from 1937, he was first appointed a Minister from 1972 till 1976 under Chief Minister Vasantrao Naik. In 1976 he was dropped from the Maharashtra Cabinet. He was very disappointed but overcoming this disappointment, he became Chief Minister of Maharashtra three times between 1976 to 1985.

He was also elected as member of 7th Lok Sabha from Sangli (Lok Sabha constituency) in 1980.

Political and family connections

In 1985 he was embroiled in a public dispute with a Deputy Commissioner of BMC, G R Khairnar, for having demolished his son's hotel "Step In". Khairnar eventually became a hero for taking on politicians, subsequently with Sharad Pawar. This dispute, meanwhile, led to the ultimate discrediting of the Congress rule in large, and combined with other issues, gave the Shiv Sena-BJP combine an upper hand in the following elections.

He is the political mentor of Maratha strongman Mr. Sharad Pawar. He appointed Mr. Sharad Pawar as his political successor and Chief Minister of Maharashtra before retiring from politics. He died on 1 March 1989.

His elder son Prakashbapu Vasantdada Patil was MP for five times from Sangli and now his grandson Pratik Prakashbapu Patil is MP from Sangli.

His second wife, Shalinitai Patil is an MLA from Koregaon, Satara district. His grandson Jyotiba Patil is a student at Ecole Mondiale World School