Maratha community leader Vinayak Mete died in an accident on the Mumbai-Pune expressway in Raigad district of Maharashtra this morning. Visuals from the accident spot showed his car in a severely damaged condition.
A vehicle hit the former Member of Legislative Council (MLC)'s car near the Madap tunnel, resulting in injuries to all the occupants of the car, news agency PTI quoted an official as saying.
The chief of Shiv Sangram, an ally of the BJP, was taken to a private hospital in Navi Mumbai following the accident where he died due to his injuries.
A policeman deployed for his security was severely injured in the crash. The injured cop, Ram Doble, is under treatment.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis reached the MGM hospital in Navi Mumbai on being informed about the incident.
Mete, a former Member of Legislative Council (MLC) of Maharashtra, is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
The Shiv Sangram Party said, Vinayak Mete will be cremated with state honours in Beed city on Monday afternoon, Press Trust of India reported.
Several politicians from the state expressed grief on Mete's death.
State minister Chandrakant Patil said it came as a shock to them. "He was genuinely following up the issue of Maratha reservation. It is a huge loss for us and the Maratha community," he said.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar also expressed grief on Mete's death. "His focus was more on social issues than political ones. He was more of a social activist than a political leader," the NCP chief told a TV channel. "It is a huge shock for us. He was earlier also part of the NCP. He pursued the demand of reservation for Marathas in education and government jobs," said Mr Pawar.
"It is unfortunate to lose a leader like Mete. Despite we being in different political parties, Mete and I were almost on the same page over the issue of Maratha reservation in the state," Congress leader Ashok Chavan said.
With inputs from PTI