Thousands bid tearful adieu to Vilasrao Deshmukh
Posted on: 15 Aug 2012
Babhalgaon (Maha), Aug 15 (PTI) Thousands of grieving
supporters and family today bade a tearful adieu to Union
minister Vilasrao Deshmukh whose mortal remains were consigned
to flames at his native Babhalgaon village from where he began
his political journey as an obscure sarpanch four decades ago.
A sea of humanity, including hundreds of moist-eyed
women, converged here, on the outskirts of district town of
Latur, for the last glimpse of the illustrious son of the soil
who rose in their midst to stride the corridors of power in
Mumbai and Delhi.
In attendance were a galaxy of leaders including Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi,
Union ministers Sushilkumar Shinde, Sharad Pawar, Praful
Patel, Vayalar Ravi, Rajiv Shukla, Mukul Wasnik, Maharashtra
Governor K Sankaranarayanan, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan,
his deputy Ajit Pawar and a host of Bollywood personalities.
Since soft-spoken Deshmukh never allowed political
affiliations to come in the way of friendship, rivals like BJP
president Nitin Gadkari and party's deputy leader in the Lok
Sabha Gopinath Munde were also present. So were Rajasthan
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and former Karnataka chief
minister Dharam Singh.
The last rites were performed by Deshmukh's eldest son
and Latur town MLA Amit at a family farm close to where his
father Dagdojirao Deshmukh was cremated.
Deshmukh, 67, died yesterday at Chennai's Global Hospital
from serious liver ailment, a week after he was flown in an
air ambulance from Mumbai in a critical condition.
Earlier, a solemn-looking Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi
placed wreaths on the casket carrying the body of Deshmukh,
state's tallest Congress leader and twice chief minister, at
Dayanand Vidyalaya where it lay in state for public to pay
their last respects.
Gandhi walked up to Deshmukh's widow Vaishali, who fought
back tears, and held her in comforting embrace as the Prime
Minister offered his condolences to the departed leader's son
Amit. Deshmukh's teary-eyed family members, including his
wife, actor son Riteish and Dheeraj, acknowledged with
gratitude the condolences with folded hands.