Manohar Joshi: A Life of Service and Leadership

Manohar Joshi

Mumbai: Former Lok Sabha Speaker and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Manohar Joshi passed away at the age of 86 on Friday, February 23, 2024, at Mumbai’s PD Hinduja Hospital, where he was admitted in the ICU since Wednesday. He had been suffering from prolonged age-related health issues and had a brain hemorrhage in May last year.

His family said that his last rites will be conducted at Shivaji Park crematorium in Dadar at 3 pm and that he will be at his residence from 11 am to 2 pm for people to pay their respects. He is survived by a son and two daughters. His wife, Anagha Joshi, had died in 2020 at the age of 75.

A Stalwart of Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Politics

Joshi was a prominent leader of the Shiv Sena, a regional party that advocates for the rights and interests of the people of Maharashtra. He was the first leader from the undivided Shiv Sena to become the chief minister of the state, serving from 1995 to 1999. He was also elected as a Member of Parliament from the Mumbai North-Central Lok Sabha Constituency in 1999 and became the Union minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.

He was also the Lok Sabha Speaker from 2002 to 2004 when the Vajpayee government was in power at the Centre. He was known for his impartiality and dignity in conducting the proceedings of the lower house of Parliament. He was also instrumental in initiating several reforms and modernization projects in the Lok Sabha.

Joshi was born on December 2, 1937, in the coastal Konkan region of Maharashtra. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the prestigious Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) in Mumbai. He began his career as a teacher and entered politics in 1967. He was associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a nationalist organization, and later became a member of the Shiv Sena.

He was a municipal councilor in Mumbai from 1968-70 and Chairman, of the Standing Committee of the Mumbai municipal corporation in 1970. He was the Mayor of Mumbai during 1976-1977. He was then elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Council in 1972. After serving three terms in the Legislative Council, Joshi was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly in 1990 and was the Leader of the Opposition in the assembly during 1990-91.

He was one of the key leaders of the Shiv Sena and was known for his organizational skills and political acumen. He played a vital role in expanding the base and influence of the party in the state and beyond. He was also a close aide and confidant of the late Bal Thackeray, the founder and supremo of the Shiv Sena.

A Loss for the Nation and the State

Joshi’s demise has been mourned by leaders across the political spectrum and the people of Maharashtra. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences and said that Joshi was an “outstanding parliamentarian” and a “visionary leader”. He said that Joshi’s contributions to the development of Maharashtra and the nation will always be remembered.

Union minister Nitin Gadkari, who was a member of the Maharashtra ministry when Joshi was the CM, said that the state had lost a “cultured face” of politics. He said that Joshi was a “great administrator” and a “man of principles”. He also recalled Joshi’s support and guidance to him during his political career.

Shiv Sena chief and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that Joshi was a “father figure” to him and the party. He said that Joshi was a “towering personality” who had left an indelible mark on the state’s politics and history. He said that Joshi’s legacy will inspire generations to come.

Other leaders who paid tribute to Joshi include former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, BJP president J P Nadda, and Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

Joshi’s death marks the end of an era in Maharashtra politics and the Shiv Sena. He was a leader who had witnessed and shaped the state’s growth and transformation over the decades. He was a leader who had served the nation and the state with dedication and distinction. He was a leader who will be missed and remembered by many.