Senior Congress leader and former Maharashtra minister Patangrao Kadam, who was undergoing treatment at a hospital here, passed away tonight, family sources said.
The Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) also confirmed his demise.
He was 72 and is survived by his son Vishwajeet Kadam, a Youth Congress leader who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha election from Pune in 2014.
Earlier in the day, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi visited Lilavati Hospital, where Kadam had been undergoing treatment for renal dysfunction. He had been put on ventilator for the past few days as his condition remained serious.
My deepest condolences on the unfortunate demise of Senior Congress leader and educationist Patangrao Kadam ji. This is an irreparable loss to the Congress party. My love and support to his family in this hour of grief.— Office of RG (@OfficeOfRG) March 9, 2018
Born in a lower-middle class family in Sangli district of Western Maharashtra, Kadam had a rapid rise in the fields of politics and education.
He joined the Congress and was elected to the state Assembly four times from Palus-Kadegaon constituency in western India.
Kadam also founded Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, an educational empire which is spread across the state.
He held key portfolios such as cooperation and forest in the Congress-NCP government (1999 to 2014). Kadam also used to head a local cooperative sugar mill.
The late leader also served as chairman of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC).
During his stint at MSRTC, Kadam started a scheme under which every major village in the state was connected with MSRTC bus service.