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Bombay “city boss,” Congress party treasurer and Union cabinet minister from Nehru to Indira: Sadashiv Kanoji Patil (1898–1981)
Sadashiv Kanoji (SK) Patil, quintessential Congressman of Bombay city and cabinet minister in three union governments from 1957 to 1963 and 1964 to 1967, was the kind of figure in Indian politics, who personified Rajni Kothari’s Congress “system” of clients-patrons and chains-links. A disciple of Vallabhbhai Patel, Patil was a thorn in Jawaharlal Nehru’s side. A political anchor for the business community, he identified with a network involving capital. He was an indifferent administrator, but an influential party apparatchik and his career peaked in 1964–67, when he was a part of the Congress “syndicate.” Afterwards, he struggled for relevance in the turbulent decade of the 1970s. In this article based on Patil’s personal papers, I offer fragments from his political life that are interesting prisms through which to view (a) aspects of intra-party and interministerial conflicts, (b) issues with top-down governance for public policy and, (c) the complex opposition to it, both inside and outside a Congress party in transition.
- Social Sciences and Humanities
- International Relations, Politics and History