Senior Karnataka Communist leader Maruti Manpade passes away

Published : October 20, 2020 21:29 IST

Maruti Manpade. Photo: SANTOSH SAGAR

Maruti Manpade, senior Communist leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), succumbed to COVID-19 in a private hospital in Solapur in Maharashtra today. He was 65. He was admitted to a hospital in Kalaburagi, where he was based, on October 4. He was diagnosed with COVID and moved to a private hospital in Solapur. Manpade was a member of the State Committee of the CPI(M) for 10 years and headed the Karnataka Pranta Raitha Sangha, the party’s farmers’ wing in the State, from 1995 to 2017. He was the tallest leader of Left and progressive groups in the north-eastern part of Karnataka, known as Kalyana Karnataka.

Born in a family of agricultural labourers in a village in Kamalapur taluk of Kalaburagi district, Manpade was employed as a Basic Health Worker when he began his career as a communist activist in the farmers’ movement after a severe drought in the region. He became a party full-timer in 1986 when he was elected as a member of the Zilla Parishad.

In his long and active career, Manpade organised anganwadi workers in Kalaburagi and was also president of the gram panchayat workers’ union in the State. Many of his agitations were conducted to get the assured minimum support price for tur crops and for the extension of irrigation facilities to the parched region of Kalyana Karnataka. He was active even recently when he participated in the farmers’ protests in September against the recently passed agriculture laws.

Manpade contested four times in elections to the Legislative Assembly, although he was unsuccessful. He was also unsuccessful when he contested as a CPI(M) candidate from the Bidar Lok Sabha seat in 1996 with the support of the Janata Dal.

G.N. Nagaraj, former Secretary of the State (Karnataka) committee of the CPI(M) said: “He was a daring person and an irreplaceable workers’ and farmers’ leader. He took up the issues of the people, studied those issues closely and then pursued those relentlessly until relief was secured for those grievances. He was also an uncompromising campaigner against communalism in the Kalyana Karnataka region and took the lead in organising a massive rally against the CAA [Citizenship Amendment Act].”

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