Veteran Congressman A R Antulay dies

Veteran Congressman A R Antulay dies

Veteran Congressman Abdul Rehman Antulay, a former Maharashtra chief minister and Union minister, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 85 after prolonged illness.

Popularly called A R Antulay or Barrister Antulay, the Congressman was known for his deep understanding of issues, no-nonsense attitude, fast decision making and efficient administration. Antulay was a man who drew respect from all political parties.

The former chief minister is survived by his wife Nargis, son Naved and daughters Neelam, Shabnam and Mubina. He died at the Breach Candy Hospital, where he was admitted and being treated for kidney ailments.

Antulay ‘s son-in-law Mushtaq Antulay said a funeral would take place at his native village of Ambet in the Raigad district of the coastal Konkan region. He was the state’s first and only Muslim chief minister between June 1980 and January 1982 and was considered close to then prime minister Indira Gandhi. Antulay, however, had to resign from his post on allegations of corruption.

The Bombay High Court convicted him, but later the Supreme Court cleared him of all the charges. It was alleged that he collected donations from builders for the Indira Gandhi Pratishthan, one of several trust funds he had established and controlled, in exchange for receiving more cement than the quota allotted to them by the government.

He served as Union minister in 1995 and later in the UPA-I government of former prime minister Manmohan Singh, where he headed the Minority Affairs Ministry.

Antulay was respected by late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, who often consulted and discussed with him the vexed Maharashtra-Karnataka boundary dispute.

Born on February 9, 1929, he was a barrister from Lincoln’s Inn, London.Between 1962 and 1976, Antulay was a member of the Maharashtra Assembly from the Srivardhan constituency in Raigad, serving as Minister of State and Cabinet minister.

During this time, he held several portfolios, including Law and Judiciary, Ports and Fisheries and Housing. Thereafter, he was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1976 to 1980, before becoming chief minister of Maharashtra.

Antulay got re-elected in 1985 to the Assembly and remained there until 1989, when he was elected to the 9th Lok Sabha from Kolaba, the now Raigad seat. He was re-elected to the 10th Lok Sabha in 1991.

From June 1995 to May 1996, he was Union minister of health and family welfare, and from February to May 1996 he was had additional charge of Water Resources.

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