Farmers' leader Sharad Joshi laid to rest

Pune: Thousands of farmers bade a tearful adieu to their veteran leader and former MP Sharad Joshi, whose mortal remains were consigned to flames with state honours in Pune on Tuesday.

Joshi (81), founder of 'Shetkari Sanghatana', who was credited with cementing the unity of the unorganised agriculturists in Maharashtra and other states, died of old age-related ailments here on Saturday. The cremation took place today after the arrival of his two daughters settled abroad.

The mourners raised a chant of 'Sharad Joshi Amar Rahe'. Leaders from various parties hailed Joshi's relentless fight for the dignity for farmers and remunerative prices for agriculture produce.

Those present on the occasion included Union minister Nitin Gadkari, Maharashtra ministers Vinod Tawde and Girish Bapat, former Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, farmers' leader and MP Raju Shetty.

Joshi had a term in the Rajya Sabha from 2004-10, elected with the support of the BJP and Shiv Sena. He served on as many 16 parliamentary committees during the tenure. He gave up a decade-long lucrative assignment with International Bureau of Universal Postal Union (UPU) based in Switzerland in 1977 to return to India and take up the farmers' cause.

He formed his trend-setting outfit Shetkari Sanghatana in 1979, galvanising the unorganised farmers' movement in the state.

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