Quietly efficient

Published : Nov 19, 2004 00:00 IST



FIRST elected from Tasgaon in Sangli district of western Maharashtra in1990, Raosaheb Rajaram Patil has had a meteoric rise in politics. Credited with leading the Nationalist Congress Party to its success in the elections, R.R. Patil, as he is better known, has been rewarded with the post of Deputy Chief Minister at the age of 48.

When the formal announcement was made, he reacted in his characteristic style - a quiet smile and rapid nods to familiar faces around him. His speech that followed was also typically brief. He expressed his thanks for "selecting the son of an ordinary farmer [to be the second in command in the State]."

His modest description of himself is inadequate. Although he was Home Minister in the previous government, R.R. Patil is a relative newcomer on the political scene. He is credited with a deep understanding of rural Maharashtra and, more unusually, is respected by his political peers. Among the five final contenders for the post of Deputy Chief Minister within the NCP, R.R. Patil was apparently the only one whom the other contenders also supported.

Known as a "quiet worker", he has not compromised his reputation for straightforward dealing, a fact that even Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar has appreciated. She, in fact, campaigned for R.R. Patil in the elections.

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