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Congress veteran Vasant Sathe is no more

September 23, 2011 23:09 IST

Congress veteran and former Union Minister Vasant Sathe died in Gurgoan on Friday night of heart attack. He was 86.

Sathe complained of chest pain late in the evening and was rushed to a private hospital where doctors declared him dead. He breathed his last at 7:50 pm, doctors said. A lawyer by training, Sathe was the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting in Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's cabinet.

Known for his frank views, he had touched on many issues like a debate on Presidential form of governance and demand for Priyanka Gandhi's entry into active politics.President Pratibha Patil Congress President Sonia Gandhi condoled Sathe's death.

"I'm saddened by Shri Sathe's death", said Patil.

"Vasant Sathe was a senior party leader known for his frank views," All India Congress Committee General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said.

Born on March 5, 1925, at Nashik in Maharashtra, Sathe received his early education at Bhonsla Military School and did his masters in Economics and Political Science at Nagpur Mahavidyalaya, followed by a degree in Law at Morris College, Nagpur University.

He took active part in the freedom movement and removed the British flag and unfurling the Indian tricolour at the district court in Nagpur during the Quit India Movement.

Sathe made his debut in the Lok Sabha from Akola in 1972 and later represented Wardha constituency from 1980 to 1991.

A close associate of Indira Gandhi, Sathe was the deputy leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party during his second term in Parliament from 1977-79.

He handled various portfolios but is known for his untiring efforts to introduce colour television in the country for the 1982 Asian Games during his tenure as Minister of Information and Broadcasting.

He was also instrumental in clearing the bottlenecks in filming of Richard Attenborough's film biopic on Mahatma Gandhi and ensure that it finally got rolling and projected on the screen.

Sathe authored seven books with the latest being a candid, political commentary -- Memoirs of a Rationalist which was released in 2006. He was a widower and is survived by two daughters -- Suhas and Suniti and a son, Subhash.

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