Nagpur: The monsoon session of the Maharashtra Assembly began here today with the House paying tributes to former agriculture minister and senior BJP leader Pandurang Fundkar who died in May.
As the House assembled on the opening day, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis moved a condolence motion describing Fundkar as a man committed to the party's ideology and for the cause farmers.
He said Fundkar was a studious parliamentarian and legislator.
"He made immense contribution to theBJP's growth in Maharashtra till the booth-level during his tenure as the state unit president," he said.
Fundkar's political rise was due to the hard work and struggles, because of which he became a legislator twice from Khamgaon in Buldhana district and a Lok Sabha member thrice from Akola, Fadnavis said.
He later became Member of the Legislative Council and remained a legislator till his death, he noted.
Fundkar was imprisonment during the Emergency for three months and was also arrested and put in jail for nine months under the Maintenance of Internal Security (MISA) Act, Fadnavis recalled.
Senior BJP leader and former minister Eknath Khadse became emotional while recalling his close ties with the late leader.
"Fundkar and I had close family ties. The relationship was beyond words. When he became a minister, I was out of the state cabinet. When he became an MLA, I wasn't (a legislator) and vice versa," he said.
"We would always joke about this hide-and-seek. I wish this hide-and-seek had continued instead of his untimely death," Khadse said.
Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil described Fundkar as a sensitive person who exercised restraint even during trying times.
"He never diverted from the main issue while putting across his stand on any matter. He took criticism positively while serving as a minister," he said.
Fundkar (67) died on May 31 after suffering a cardiac arrest.
Fadnavis, Vikhe Patil and group leaders of other parties also paid tributes to former legislators Bhalchandra alias Bhai Vaidya, Bapurao Panghate, Dagdu Paraji Bade who died recently.
Vaidya (89), a freedom fighter who was also Maharashtra minister of state for home between 1978-80, died on April 2 after suffering from pancreatic cancer.
The House was later adjourned for the day.
The state Legislature's monsoon session is taking place in Nagpur, the state's second capital, after 47 years.