Nagpur: Veteran Congress leader and a three-term Member of Parliament Balkrishna Wasnik died today at a private hospital here after cardiac failure. He was 86.
His son and All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Mukul Wasnik who is a former Union Minister, was by his side when he breathed his last, family members said, adding that his funeral will take place tomorrow.
The late Balkrishna Wasnik had represented two constituencies of Vidarbha in Parliament namely Bhandara and Buldhana. At the young age of 28, he was first elected in 1957 from Bhandara and was later elected from the same constituency again in 1962.
Later, in 1980 he shifted to Buldhana in the Western region. After his term, his son Mukul Wasnik inherited the seat and contested four elections before shifting to Ramtek in 2015. Wasnik is survived by a son and two daughters.
A staunch supporter of a separate Vidarbha state, he led the movement in 1967 as president of Mahavidarbha Rajya Sangharsh Samiti. However, his active role in the Congress campaign led by Nashikrao Tirpude in the 1954 Lok Sabha by-election from Bhandara became a sore point in later years.
That bypoll was historical since Dalit icon Babasaheb Ambedkar, who contested as a Scheduled Caste Federation candidate, lost to the Congress candidate Borkar. The Congress which claimed to champion oppressed classes was blamed for nipping Babaseheb Ambedkar's electoral ambitions in the bud.