Return of the `Pawar-baiter'

Published : Nov 19, 2004 00:00 IST



WITH his dramatic return to power, the wheel has turned full circle for 59-year-old Vilasrao Deshmukh. Beginning his political career as a sarpanch, he went on to become a member of the State legislature. Since 1982 he has held the portfolios of Revenue, Cooperation, Education, Home, Agriculture and Industries.

Elected from the Latur Assembly seat in Latur district in the Marathwada region, Deshmukh first became Chief Minister in 1999 but was removed from the post in February 2003. During the tenure of the previous Congress-led government, which was initially under his guidance, the State's debt rose to close to Rs.100,000 crores and the agricultural economy plummeted to depressing depths. But his fellow Congress leaders have chosen to disregard this and have re-elected him for a second term because of his reputation as a `Pawar-baiter'. The message they have sent out is that it is more important than anything else to have at the helm a man who can prevent the spread of the Nationalist Congress Party.

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