Khobragade had invented the revolutionary HMT variety of paddy, but died "largely forgotten and in penury", Mr Gandhi noted. The 78-year-old rice innovator, a native of Nanded village in Chandrapur in Vidarbha region, died earlier this month after a prolonged illness in Gadchiroli district.
"Dadaji Khobragade, a Dalit farmer-scientist, invented the revolutionary HMT variety of paddy. But, he died largely forgotten and in penury. I visited his home in Nanded, Maharashtra, to condole with his family and to apologise for our apathy as a nation, to his achievements," Mr Gandhi said on Twitter.
Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot, its Maharashtra unit chief Ashok Chavan and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil accompanied Mr Gandhi during the visit.
The issue of patenting the rice varieties was also discussed at the meeting with his family members, he said. "Dadaji Khobragade developed 11 varieties of rice. However, none of them have been patented. The Congress has decided to follow up this issue with the state government and the Centre," Mr Chavan said.
Mr Gandhi had a 20-minute meeting with Khobragade's family members in which no other Congress leader was allowed, he said. Later, the Congress president also held a 'chaupal', an interactive session with locals, at Nanded village, and attacked the BJP and the central government on a range of issues.