Deshmukh Makes His Debut in Union Cabinet
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One of the longest serving Chief Ministers of Maharashtra, Vilasrao Deshmukh's debut in the Union Cabinet marks his move from state to national politics.

64-year-old Deshmukh's journey in politics began as a village sarpanch in Latur district and the Marathi leader steadily rose in the ranks to assume the top post in the state twice.

He had been a minister in various governments in Maharashtra from 1982 to 1995 holding the portfolios of revenue, cooperation, agriculture, home, industries and education which is testimony to his extensive experience in the legislature and administration.

Deshmukh became chief minister in 1999 but had to step down in January 2003 and make way for Sushilkumar Shinde, a prominent Dalit face of Congress, following factionalism in the state unit of the party.

A known Sharad Pawar-baiter, Deshmukh had suffered a major setback in the 1995 Assembly polls when Janata Dal candidate Shivajirao Patil Kavhekar defeated him by over 30,000 votes in Latur assembly constituency.

He won the seat in 1999 and retained it in 2004 Assembly elections and became chief minister, a post which he had to vacate in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack.

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