Veteran Shiv Sena leader and ex-minister Sudhir Joshi passes away

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Veteran Shiv Sena leader and ex-minister Sudhir Joshi — kin of former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi — passed away following prolonged illness here on Thursday, a party official said.

Joshi was 81 and had recently conquered Covid-19 to return home a few days ago from the Jaslok Hospital.

A prominent leader of Sena’s ‘old guard’ from its inception, Joshi was unwell since the past few weeks, suffering from heart and related ailments. He breathed his last on Thursday afternoon.

Aggressive and a go-getter, Joshi was among the closest confidantes of Shiv Sena founder-patriarch, the late Balasaheb Thackeray, for many years in the fledgling days of the Shiv Sena that was attempting to carve its niche in state politics.

In 1973, he created history by becoming the youngest and only the second Shiv Sena Mayor of Mumbai, after which the party grew in leaps and bounds in city politics, now ruling the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) uninterrupted for nearly three decades.

In 1995, when the first Shiv Sena-BJP government assumed office, Joshi joined his cousin and the then first party Chief Minister Manohar Joshi’s cabinet as Revenue and Education Minister.

However, after having several health issues, he voluntarily took a back seat in active politics around 1999.

During his heydays, Balasaheb Thackeray had entrusted him with key tasks in the growing party with responsibilities such as President of the powerful All India Cabin Crew Association, various banks and insurance sector unions.

He also headed and guided the critical Sthanik Lokadhikar Samiti, which fought for jobs for local Marathi youth in government and private sectors, earning huge support among the ‘sons of the soil’.

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