Manohar Joshi
Former LS Speaker, ex-Maha CM Manohar Joshi passes awayIANS

Former Lok Sabha Speaker and ex-Maharashtra Chief Minister Manohar G. Joshi, a senior Shiv Sena (UBT) leader, passed away following a heart attack early on Friday morning.

"Our family is deeply saddened to inform you that Manohar Joshi passed away today morning at 3 a.m. following prolonged age related health issues," his family said in a terse announcement at dawn.

Joshi, 86, was rushed to the Hinduja Hospital in Mahim after suffering a heart attack late on Thursday.

'Sir', as he was popular in political circles because of his teaching background and a stern demeanour, succumbed during treatment around 3 a.m., plunging the state political fraternity into gloom.

His family said that Joshi's mortal remains will be kept at their home in Matunga to enable people to pay their last respects from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., and then taken in a procession for the funeral at Dadar Crematorium around 3 p.m.

One of the closest confidantes of the late Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray, Joshi had over six decades in politics starting as a Municipal Corporator, then Mayor, Maharashtra CM, Union Minister, then crowning glory as the Speaker of Lok Sabha.

Balasaheb Thackeray and Manohar Joshi
File photo: Bal Thackeray flashes a victory sign to his supporters outside a city court in Mumbai after the judge dismissed a case against him for his alleged role in a 1992-93 Hindu-Muslim riot. Standing beside him is then union minister for heavy industries Manohar Joshi.Reuters

Joshi had been suffering from certain old-age related ailments for the past several months and largely kept out of public glare, but remained with the SS-UBT, till he breathed his last.

Top leaders across the political spectrum have paid rich tributes to Joshi who headed the first-ever saffron government in the state comprising the undivided Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party (1995-1999), in an era when politics was more principled and less unscrupulous.

PM Condoles

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the demise of the veteran leader. "Pained by the passing away of Shri Manohar Joshi Ji. He was a veteran leader who spent years in public service and held various responsibilities at the municipal, state and national level... Condolences to his family and supporters. Om Shanti."

Maharashtra Governor Ramesh Bais, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Deputy CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, mourned the demise of Joshi and recalled his services to the state and country.

Shiv Sena (UBT) President and ex-CM Uddhav Thackeray, who is in Buldhana, cut short his political tour to rush to Mumbai to pay his respects to Joshi.

Top SS-UBT leaders, including Leader of Opposition Ambadas Danve, Aditya Thackeray, Sanjay Raut, Arvind Sawant, Sushma Andhare, Kishore Tiwari, and others paid rich tributes to Joshi, and remembered his contributions at various levels in public life.

State and Central Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Chief Raj Thackeray, leaders of Maha Vikas Aghadi and other parties also condoled the demise of Joshi.

(With inputs from IANS)