Thousands pay homage to dead NCP leader

Thursday, January 13, 2011

MUMBAI - Workers of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and hundreds of others watched tearfully as the mortal remains of the state general secretary Gurunath Kulkarni were consigned to flames Thursday.

“His (Kulkarni’s) body was brought to the Dadar crematorium in a procession from the party’s state headquarters at Nariman Point in south Mumbai,” a party official said.

His daughter Neha, a medico based in the US, lit the funeral pyre amid the chanting of mantras.

Kulkarni, 70, had passed away here Wednesday after prolonged illness.

“Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also visited the NCP office and Kulkarniji’s residence to pay him their last tributes,” the official said.

“Several other political leaders of the state turned up at the funeral attended by nearly 2,000 people,” he added.

Kulkarni was suffering from a heart ailment and diabetes. He had been on life-support systems at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital for the past fortnight.

A lawyer by profession, Kulkarni lived in Tilak Nagar, north-east Mumbai, and practised in the Bombay High Court till 1969 before joining the Congress party as an ordinary worker.

He joined the NCP when the party split in 1999. He grew in the ranks to become a member of the legislative council and the party’s state general secretary, a post which he held till he breathed his last Wednesday.

He also functioned as the party’s official spokesperson for a while and became a favourite of the state media.

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