The demise of Pune MP Girish Bapat is a big loss for Bharatiya Janata Party, Maharashtra unit president Chandrashekhar Bawankule said on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences at Mr Bapat’s passing.
“Shri Girish Bapat Ji was a humble and hardworking leader who served society diligently. He worked extensively for the development of Maharashtra and was particularly passionate about Pune’s growth. His passing away is saddening. Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti,” the PM tweeted.
“Shri Girish Bapat Ji played a key role in building and strengthening the BJP in Maharashtra. He was an approachable MLA who raised issues of public welfare. He also made a mark as an effective Minister and later as Pune’s MP. His good work will keep motivating several people,” he added.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the news of Mr Bapat’s death was extremely saddening.
Senior BJP leader and Maharashtra cabinet minister Chandrakant Patil said Mr Bapat was like a guru and a father figure.
“It is a big loss for the BJP as Bapat has left us forever. We used to learn a lot from him and his style of politics,” Mr Bawankule said.
Mr Patil said Mr Bapat was like a guru for many BJP workers and his colleagues.
“It is like losing a father figure from your life. His friendship across the party lines and contacts with people and party workers were unparallel. He was dedicated to the party and its growth. His demise is a huge loss to the party,” Mr Patil said.
Sharad Pawar tweeted, “In his long political career of four decades, Bapat always took an all-inclusive stand”.
Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar said Pune district has lost a leader who believed in taking everyone along. “In Bapat’s death, a cultured face of politics has lost,” he said in a statement.
Mr Bapat, who was ailing for the last one-and-a-half-years, passed away at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital here at 72 on Wednesday. He had served as the MLA five times from the Kasba Peth constituency in Pune city. He was elected to Lok Sabha from the Pune constituency in 2019.