Gandhian leelatai merchant dies

Gandhian leelatai merchant dies

Gandhian and veteran Congress leader Leelatai Merchant died in Pune on Friday morning after a brief illness. She was 95 years old.

Merchant, a freedom fighter, had participated in the 1942 Quit India movement.

She was a prominent personality in the social and political circles of Pune. She had served as a corporator in the Pune Municipal Corporation for two terms in the 1960s and was elected to the state Assembly from Kasba Peth segment in 1972. During her term in Assembly, she often raised issues pertaining to women.

Merchant was at the forefront of providing help to local residents during calamities like flooding due to the Panshet dam breach and droughts.

She was also active in social work and was involved with the Gujarati Mahila Mandal, Industrial Cooperative Organisation and Sanyukt Stree Sanstha.

A lifelong Congress loyalist, Merchant continued to attend flag hoisting ceremonies at the Congress Bhavan in Pune till the age of 90.

City Congress unit chief Ramesh Bagawe expressed deep condolence over her death.