Babasaheb Anantrao Bhosale (15 January 1921 – 6 October 2007) was an Indian politician and freedom fighter who served as Chief Minister of Maharashtra from 21 January 1982, until 1 February 1983.
Mr.Bhosale was born on 15 January 1921 in the Satara district of Maharashtra. An alumnus of the Shahaji Law College in Kolhapur, he passed the Bar-at-law examination at Lincoln’s Inn, London in 1951 following which he practised in Satara as an advocate for a decade. Mr.Bhosale was imprisoned during 1941-42 for his participation in the freedom struggle.
In 1978,Mr.Bhosale contested to and lost the Assembly election from the Nehru Nagar assembly constituency in Kurla, Mumbai as a candidate of the Congress Party. In 1980, he was elected to the Maharashtra Vidhan Sabha from there and went on to become a minister and later chief minister during his first term as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. In the A R Antulay Ministry, Mr.Bhosale headed the law and judiciary portfolios before succeeding Antulay as Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
Mr.Bhosale was chosen as Chief Minister by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in a move that snubbed senior Maratha leaders and surprised many including Mr.Bhosale himself. Although he was Chief Minister for only 377 days, Mr.Bhosale’s tenure is remembered for several bold decisions that he took. Among these were a scheme for free education for girls till matriculation, the creation of the Gadchiroli district and the inauguration of the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court.Mr. Bhosale initiated several welfare measures for freedom fighters including a pension scheme for them and cracked down on a strike by policemen, dissolving the policemen’s union that had the support of several senior Congress leaders. At the Vithoba Temple in Pandharpur, Mr.Bhosale’s intervention led to the abolition of the system of ‘Badwe’ (priests) that had been a source of harassment to the devotees there.
Mr.Bhosale’s term as Chief Minister was however also marked by dissension within the Congress Party and allegations of corruption in the distribution of liquor distilling licences and allocation of flats in Bombay. Mr.Bhosale’s rule ended on February 1, 1983 following Vasantrao Patil’s election to the chief ministership by legislators of the Congress Party.
Mr.Bhosale’s cabinet had several people who went on to hold important offices later including Pratibha Patil who went on to become the President of India and Vilasrao Deshmukh who became the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
Mr.Bhosale was the son-in-law of Tulsidas Yadav, a Rajya Sabha member who sided with Indira Gandhi when she split the Indian National Congress in 1969. His brother Shivajirao Bhosale was a vice-chancellor of Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University. Mr.Bhosale’s son, Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale has served as a judge of the Bombay and Karnataka High Courts.
Mr.Bhosale died at the Bombay Hospital in Mumbai on 6 October 2007. He was 86.