Thursday 30 May 2024

Loyal worker, tall leader

Deshmukh was a visionary leader who would foresee things and take quick decisions

Ruma Bose / For The Goan | AUGUST 15, 2012, 09:34 AM IST
Loyal worker, tall leader

From being a sarpanch ofBabhagaon village in Latur district of Marathwada region in 1974 to occupyingthe post of Chief Minister of Maharashtra, twice, and then becoming a UnionMinister, Vilasrao Deshmukh was a leader in true sense, a crisis-manager andable administrator. The ever-smiling, charismatic politician, known for hissense of humour, has achieved what he was -- not easily, but he deserved it.

Deshmukh, a seniorCongressman, aged 67, passed away on Tuesday in Chennai's Global Health City,and on Thursday the last rites were performed at Latur. 

Born in 1945, Deshmukhgraduated from the ILS Law College, Pune. He was a grassroots Congress worker,who proved his mettle at all stages in his impressive political career.

He began his politicaljourney as Sarpanch of the Babhalgaon Village Panchayat from 1974 to 1976. Hewas also a member of the Osmanabad Zilla Parishad and Deputy Chairman of LaturTaluka Panchayat Samiti. As President of Osmanabad District Youth Congress from1975 to 1978, he vigorously implemented the 5-Point programme of theorganization.

Deshmukh was elected to theMaharashtra Legislative Assembly for the first time in 1980 and followed it upwith victories in 1985 and 1990. He held important portfolios of revenue,cooperation, agriculture, home, industries and education as a minister in thestate between 1982 and 1995. He received a setback when he lost the electionsin 1995 but came back with a triumph in the 1999 polls. He became the Chief Ministerof Maharashtra for the first time in October, 1999. He continued in the postfrom October 18, 1999 to January 17, 2003, when he had to make way forSushilkumar Shinde. He became the Chief Minister for the second time afterwinning the Assembly elections in October 2004.

Following the 26/11 Mumbaiattacks in 2008, Deshmukh resigned owning moral responsibility andrehabilitated to national politics. After 26/11, he faced criticism, asfilmmaker Ram Gopal Varma accompanied him to the sites which were attacked. 

After he entered the RajyaSabha, he was inducted as Union Minister for Heavy Industries and PublicEnterprises and later as Minister for Rural Development. He was appointed asMinister of Science and Technology and Minister of Earth Sciences on July 12,2011.

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