Veteran Congress leader and two-term Maharashtra Legislative Assembly member from the prestigious Colaba seat, Annie Shekhar passed away here Sunday after a prolonged illness, her family said. She was 84.
She is survived by two sons, a daughter, two daughters-in-law, a son-in-law and 5 grandchildren.
Her eldest son Suresh Chandrashekhar and daughter Anita Shekhar-Castellino are senior advocates practising at the Bombay High Court.
Her youngest son Vijay Shekhar is a senior journalist, while her husband Sitambalam and daughter Sabina passed away many years ago.
Annie Shekhar spent her entire life in public service and was popular among the masses and classes in her Colaba constituency, as well as across Mumbai.
Fondly called “Mummy” by her followers, she firmly stood up for the rights of the downtrodden and championed the cause of women’s rights.
During her tenures as MLA, Shekhar had raised several issues in the Legislature like safety of women, housing for the poor and job creation for the disabled.
One of her major achievements was the introduction of study centres in Colaba (one near Mantralaya).
The Study Centre at Cooperage Bandstand Garden and the other study centres initiated by her are open 24 hours a day and are a boon for thousands of poor students who come there to study all through the year.
Many children who studied here have gone on to work for large multi-national companies like Google, Amazon and even NASA amd the concept was replicated all over the city with five in Colaba.
Starting her political career in her youth, Shekhar joined the Congress 45 years ago.
Later she was elected President of the Colaba Mahila Congress and later as the General Secretary of the Mumbai Congress.
In 1992, she was elected as a Municipal Corporator from Colaba and in 1997, she was re-elected.
In 2004, she was elected from the Colaba Assembly constituency and she repeated her feat in the October 2009 Assembly elections.
From 2006 to 2009 she was appointed Chairperson of the Children’s Aid Society with the rank of Minister of State. The CAS runs several homes for orphans, delinquent children, and mentally disabled children.