Indian Political Leader Vilasrao Deshmukh Passes Away!

Vilasrao Deshmukh, Minister for Science and Technology in the Government of India, former Chief Minister of Maharashtra and a stalwart of Maharashtra politics, passed away today at a Chennai hospital. He had been suffering from serious liver ailments for the last fifteen days and was on life support. The end came today due to multiple organ failure, the attending doctors said. He was 67. The whole nation went into mourning at the untimely demise of worthy political leader on the eve of India’s 66th Independence Day tomorrow.

Hailing from Babhalgaon village in Latur district of Maharashtra Vilasrao Deshmukh rose from an elected Sarpanch or village headman in 1974 to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra in 1999. He fought and won the state Assembly elections in 1980 and his career as a prominent Congress political leader began. He won the elections in 1985 and in 1990 too and occupied prime portfolios of cabinet ministers in the state government. He lost the polls in 1995, but came back strongly in 1999 to become the Chief Minister. In 2003 he had to give up his charge due to party factionalism, but became the Chief Minister for the second term after winning the state elections in 2004. With his two terms he became the longest serving Chief Minister of Maharashtra. In the tense aftermath of the horrific Mumbai terror attack on 26th November, 2008 Vilasrao Deshmukh resigned taking moral responsibility for the loss of innocent lives. In 2009 he got elected to the upper house of the Indian Parliament and he began his career in national politics. He was given the cabinet portfolios of Rural Development, Heavy Industries and Science and Technology over the last three years. His last days had been disturbed due to the ongoing investigations of the Adarsh scam of which he was finally absolved about two months back.

Vilasrao Deshmukh had a dignified personality with strikingly good features, a powerful oratory and all the qualities of staunch leadership. As a person he was always positive, bright, beaming and amiable. On various news assignments I had a few opportunities to meet him and I was impressed by his sincerity and frankness. He also had a healthy family life with wife and three well settled sons—the second one being a successful Bollywood film star Riteish Deshmukh. He always looked to be in prime health and therefore his illness and sudden death came as an absolute shocker for many. Reports now reveal that he had been suffering from liver and kidney ailments for the last two years.

The President, the Prime Minister and all other dignitaries including his cabinet colleagues in both state and central governments expressed a deep sense of loss on his demise. All political leaders irrespective of party affiliations expressed their condolences. A three day state mourning has been declared in the state of Maharashtra. The last rites are to be performed at his native village Babhalgaon tomorrow at 4pm. All roads nationwide are currently leading to that village despite the august Independence Day programs.

We pray for the eternal bliss of his noble soul. Our tributes to a worthy political leader.


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