Neelam Gorhe (L). (Photo: Sandeep Mahankal/IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Mumbai, June 24 : Senior Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe has been unanimously elected Deputy Chairperson of Maharashtra Legislative Council, becoming the first woman elected to the prestigious post since the formation of the state in 1960, on Monday.

A medico by profession, she will be the 14th incumbent to the post, which was lying vacant for almost a year after the end of tenure of Congress MLC Manikrao Thakre.

Prior to her, Kumari Jethi T. Sipahimalani (1906-1978), a Sindhi freedom fighter, was elected the first woman deputy chairperson of the Bombay Legislative Council (1955-1962) of the erstwhile Bombay State, which was divided into Maharashtra and Gujarat on May 1, 1960.

On Monday evening, Legislative Council Chairman Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar announced Gorhe's appointment to the august post amid thumping of desks by members of all political parties.

A three-time MLC, Gorhe, 64, had filed her nomination for the post in 2015, but later withdrew it.

In the Assembly, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis greeted Gorhe on her appointment and recalled her long and distinguished services in public life, in the social, cultural, educational and medical fields since the past nearly five decades.

Born in the temple town of Pandharpur in Solapur, Gorhe completed her school education in Sane Guruji Vidyalaya, Dadar, and then Nandadeep Vidyalaya, Goregaon.

Later, she completed her higher education from Patkar College, Parle College and later Poddar Ayurvedic College before qualifying as a doctor from University Of Mumbai She practised as a doctor for 10 years from 1977, and joined active politics in 1987 with the Shiv Sena.

A soft-spoken and mild-mannered politician, Gorhe was made a Sena senior leader, spokesperson and has been a member of the state Upper House since 2002, again in 2008, now in her third term since 2014.

Founder of the Stree Adhar Kendra and Krantikari Mahila Sanghatana, she went to work among those hit by the deadly March 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, the devastating September 1993 Latur earthquake, the 2000 Gujarat earthquake, among women victims of different types of crimes all over the state, raising women's issues and other social activities, earning admiration of political friends and foes alike.

A Pune resident, Gorhe has to her credit nearly two dozen books besides being a prolific columnist and commentator in various publications.

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