Senior NCP leader R R Patil succumbs to oral cancer

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NCP leader RR Patil

NCP leader and former Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil

NCP leader and former Maharashtra home minister Raosaheb Ramrao Patil died on the afternoon of February 16 at Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital. He was 57. Patil's condition had been critical following surgery for oral cancer. He had been undergoing chemotherapy and was on life support following multiple organ failure. In December, Patil also suffered a cardiac arrest and underwent an angiography at the city's Bombay Hospital.

Popularly known as Aaba, Patil was born in 1957 in Anjani, a village in Sangli district of Maharashtra. A grassroots leader who started his career at the Zilla Parishad level, he rose to become the chief of the Nationalist Congress Party's Maharashtra unit and served as the Home Minister from October 2009 to September 2014. He was the Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra from December 2003 to December 2008. His controversial remarks following the Mumbai terror attacks of 26/11 (November 2008), the gravity of which he reportedly downplayed at a press conference by saying "(the terrorists) came to kill 5,000 people but we ensured minimal damage", caused his exit from government. He was forced to resign.

Though widely regarded as an honest and sincere politician, Patil was also at the centre of a contentious decision to ban Mumbai's dance bars. In October he was in the eye of a storm again over his remarks at an election rally in Sangli, where he remarked about a rape-accused MLA contesting the polls that he should have committed rape after the elections were over. He later apologised for his remark.

Hospitalised in January following a hard battle with oral cancer, Patil was taken off life support in January but his condition worsened suddenly and he passed away on February 16.

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