Tearful adieu to Vilasrao Deshmukh

Tearful adieu to Vilasrao Deshmukh

Tearful adieu to Vilasrao Deshmukh

Amid religious chants under a sultry evening sky, the mortal remains of Union Minister and former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was consigned to flames by his eldest son Amit, in the presence of a galaxy of political leaders and emotionally charged public at Babhalgaon in Latur district, on Wednesday.

Deshmukh, after fighting liver cancer for a prolonged period of time, passed away in Chennai, on Tuesday afternoon. The state government cancelled most of Independence Day celebrations except the traditional functions and flag hoisting.

The Maharashtra government, however, keeping in mind the stature of Deshmukh, declared a three-day state mourning with  flag to be flown half-mast from Thursday onwards.
According to the local media, the body was flown to Latur on Wednesday morning and over a lakh of people congregated on Vilasrao’s hometown to pay their last respect to their leader whom they loved, and received the same in reciprocation.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other Cabinet ministers along with state Congress and ally Nationalist Congress Party leaders also flew to Latur to pay their homage to the Marathwada strongman.

Top political leaders, cutting across party lines from the state, including Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray, also rushed to Latur to pay their last respects to a soft-spoken grassroots-level political leader who had friends in every party. Apart from the members from political fraternity, a host of Bollywood personalities were also present at the leader’s funeral.

Anti-graft activist Anna Hazare, after hoisting the national flag at his hamlet at Ralegan Siddi in Ahmednagar district, told the media that Vilasrao Deshmukh was an able administrator and his contribution to the development of the state was very substantial.

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