Pune: Veteran socialist leader, former Pune mayor and president of the recently relaunched Socialist Party of India, Bhai Vaidya, is undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer at Poona Hospital and is said to be in a critical condition.
Since he was admitted for treatment on Monday, many political leaders and personalities have visited the hospital to enquire about his health.
He was born on June 22, 1928 at Dapode village in Pune district. Vaidya, now in his 90th year, began his journey of activism and politics as a 14-year-old taking part in the freedom struggle. “He got his arm badly broken in a British police lathi-charge,” said Jagdish Tirodkar, who was himself a freedom fighter and a close associate of Vaidya.
Over his political career of more than 60 years, Bhai Vaidya was elected multiple times as a corporator for the Pune Municipal Corporation. He became the Mayor of Pune and was the first president of the All India Mayors Association. He was also Minister of State for Home and is remembered for many reforms in the police department especially changing the police uniform to full pants.
“He always remained a staunch socialist and progressive ideologue. Even during the infamous Emergency, he remained defiant as the mayor and organised a 20,000 strong rally at Shaniwarwada and was arrested. He has been in jail 28 times,” said Abhijit Vaidya, Bhai Vaidya’s son.
“He complained of pain in the abdomen a month back and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He was attending programmes and protests even five days ago when his health got worse and on Monday we moved him to the hospital,” Abhijit said, adding, “The cancer is in a terminal stage and it is difficult to actively manage at his age. Yet, we’re doing all that we can.”
Many political leaders and social activists visited the hospital since the news of his health broke. Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar, activist Kumar Saptarshi, Baba Adhav, Jaidev Gaikwad among others visited the hospital to enquire about his health. District Guardian Minister Girish Bapat enquired about him over the phone.