RIP Vilasrao Deshmukh

FPJ BureauUpdated: Sunday, June 02, 2019, 01:54 AM IST
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The death of Union Minister and former Maharahstra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has created a void in the State politics. He was currently the tallest Congress leader in Maharashtra. The Congress high command relied on him the most to defend its turf against poaching by the rival Nationalist Congress Party of Sharad Pawar.

As the average age of most politicians goes, Deshmukh at 67 was relatively young. Multiple organ failure caused his death. Despite furious attempts by doctors in Chennai failed to locate a matching liver in time to save his life. Deshmukh had come up the hard way in the Congress hierarchy, beginning as a sarpanch of his village in Latur in the Marathwada region and rising to become chief minister in two separate stints. A quintessential Congressman, Deshmukh was adept in warding off internal and external challenges to his own position in the Congress hierarchy.

When in the wake of the 26/ 11 terrorist attack, he found himself replaced, the party high command had to induct him in the central government, acknowledging his standing in the Maharashtra Congress. A clever politician, he had friends across the political spectrum. Thanks to him, the central government could persuade Anna Hazare to call off his fast at the Ramlila Maidan last year. Following his death, the Congress Party in Maharashtra would have a tough time consolidating its position. Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan lacks the grassroots support while a couple of others keen for the top slot are too controversial.

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