|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
'Kalyan Singh cheated him and he felt betrayed'
Syed Firdaus Ashraf in Mumbai | February 26, 2004 21:36 IST
Former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh pays tributes to S B Chavan, one of Maharashtra's tallest leaders, who passed away in Mumbai on Thursday. He was 83.
A lot of roads that were constructed, irrigation projects that were implement and the development that you see in Marathwada is because of him. Marathwada was one of the most backward areas of India. People of this area will always remember him for his good work.
Before him, the Congress party in Maharashtra was considered to be a party of leaders from western Maharashtra. He destroyed that myth and proved himself to be a capable leader. And after him, following in his footsteps, several other leaders sprang from different parts of the state.
However, let me make one thing clear -- he was always opposed to the partition of Maharashtra. He never supported the Vidarbha state movement and felt that the best interest of Maharashtra was in remaining united. He was very proud of Maharashtra's culture and its unity.
Not many people know that before he joined politics he was also a freedom fighter. He always fought for the poor peoples' rights. He was a great disciplinarian and a man of great character. It's no surprise that he held all important portfolios in his life including finance, defence and home ministry at the Centre.
But I think the most important thing about him was that he was very loyal to the Congress party and its ideology. He was always close to the Nehru Gandhi clan -- first Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and then Indira Gandhi, Rajiv and Sonia. He always stood by the family -- good times or bad.
He gave me my first break as a minister in his government when he became the chief minister for the second time in 1986. Ever since, I have been working as a minister with different portfolios in the Maharashtra government.
I can never forget the moment when he came down to see me to discuss development of Nanded, his hometown. I was surprised to see his enthusiasm. He was touching 80 then.
I know a lot of people feel he didn't do anything to stop the demolition of 'Babri Masjid' on December 6, 1993 when he was the home minister. But I know the truth. He had whole heartedly trusted the then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Kalyan Singh, who told that no matter what, he will protect the Babri Masjid from being demolished by 'kar sevaks.'
Since he himself was an ardent follower of the Indian Constitution. He thought that Kalyan Singh would abide by the Constitution and his oath. Kalyan Singh cheated him and he felt betrayed.
More reports from Maharashtra
Read about: Telgi case | Mumbai blasts