Veteran socialist leader Mrinal Gore dead (Lead)

July 18th, 2012 - 12:21 am ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, July 17 (IANS) Veteran socialist leader Mrinal Gore, popularly known as “Paaniwali Bai”, died of old age problems Tuesday in a hospital in Maharashtra’s Thane district, family sources said. She was 84.

Considered the last of Maharashtra’s socialist leaders, Gore came to be known as “Paaniwali Bai” after she stormed into the Mumbai civic corporation headquarters and tore up papers as municipal laws did not permit water connections to slums.

Other socialist leaders from her time included N.G. Goray, one of the founders of the socialist movement, Madhu Dandavate, a prominent opposition leader during the prime ministerial tenures of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, his wife Pramila, S.M. Joshi and Yusuf Meherally, who served as mayor of Bombay.

Mrinal Gore contested the civic elections in 1961 for the first time and won a seat in the then Bombay Municipal Council. She took up the issue of water connections to slums in 1964 after 11 people were killed in water riots.

Gore contested the 1977 Lok Sabha general elections, held after the then prime minister Indira Gandhi revoked Emergency, on a Janata Party ticket. Owing to her catchy slogan “Paaniwali Bai Delhi mein, Delhiwali Bai paani mein”, she won with the highest victory margin in Maharashtra.

However, when Gandhi bounced back in 1980, the tables were turned and Gore lost with a heavy margin.

Gore, however, continued to serve in the state legislature and council for several terms.

Expressing his condolences, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said Gore will be accorded a full state funeral in Mumbai Wednesday.

Governor K. Sankaranarayanan also expressed grief over Gore’s death.

“Mrinal Gore was one of the greatest woman social workers who until her death fought for the rights of the poor and the underprivileged sections of society. Along with the late Comrade Ahilya Rangnekar and others, Mrinal Gore remained in the forefront of various agitations for almost four decades and secured justice for women and the urban poor,” he said.

Condolences poured in from other political leaders too.

“Today we have lost the one who fought for the rights of the underprivileged and saw to it that they get justice. It is indeed a sad day,” said Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar.

Bharatiya Janata party leader Eknath Khadse termed Gore a “real leader of the common man”.

“She spent her whole life for upliftment of poor and needy people,” he said.

Former chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said: “We have lost a true people’s leader. She always worked for uplift of poor and needy commoners.”

Another former chief minister, Sushilkumar Shinde said: “An era elapses with her sad demise. She will always be remembered as a self-less and true leader.”

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