Pune: Top state politicians Saturday marked their presence at the funeral of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) legislator Ramesh Vanjale, who died here following a massive heart attack a day earlier.
Known for sporting heavy gold jewellery and hence fondly remembered as the "gold man" Vanjale was 45 and represented Khadakvasla. He is survived by his wife, who is a corporator in the Pune Municipal Corporation, and two children.
MNS president Raj Thackeray accompanied by other party leaders, including Nitin Sardesai, Bala Nandgaonkar and Mangesh Sangle, attended the funeral procession which also saw participation from thousands of Puneites.
Other political leaders, who could not make it to the funeral, sent their condolence messages to express their grief.
Sushilkumar Shinde, minister for power, said: "He was a `gold` hearted man known for his popular work style. My heartfelt sympathies are with this family during this hour of grief."
Maharashtra Public Works Minister Chhagan Bhujbal said: "We have lost a sensitive minded, popular, leader, a true representative of people."
Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Speaker Dilip Walse-Patil said: "I had the opportunity to work closely with him. We have lost an MLA who always fought for betterment of poor."
Vanjale died of a cardiac arrest in a city hospital late Friday.
Vanjale`s political career started when he became the sarpanch of Ahire village in Pune district. He later joined Congress and became the deputy chairman of the Pune zilla parishad. He joined MNS when later to become the legislator from Khadakvasla.