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Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh dies in Chennai

Last updated on: August 14, 2012 18:42 IST

Union Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh dies in Chennai

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Vilasrao Deshmukh, Union minister and Congress stalwart from Maharashtra, died in a Chennai hospital after plans for a liver transplant came unstuck following the demise of the donor.

Sixty-seven-year-old Deshmukh passed away at 1:40 pm at the Global Hospital, a week after he was flown to Chennai from Mumbai in an air ambulance in a critical condition.

He is survived by his wife, Vaishali, and three sons – Ritiesh, a Bollywood actor, Amit, an MLA and Dheeraj, who manages family-run educational trusts.

The body will be cremated at his native Babhalgaon village in Latur district on Wednesday. It will be brought to Latur and kept at his house in Babhalgaon from 9 am to 3 pm for people to pay their last respects, his brother Dilip Deshmukh, said.

"His heart stopped beating at 1.40 pm. As you know he has been suffering from liver failure, which has led to kidney failure and also his lungs were being supported with ventilator and various drugs," the hospital chairman K Ravindranath told the media.

Ravindranath said the minister was brought into the hospital in a very serious condition.

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Image: Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh is seen inside a government building in New Delhi
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters

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An attempt to harvest liver from a brain dead donor from a government hospital in Chennai on Tuesday night failed as the man died before doctors could operate on him, hospital sources said.

A team from Global Hospitals, where Deshmukh was admitted on August 6, had planned to retrieve the liver from the 31-year-old donor at the hospital, but he died, forcing them to look for another donor, the sources said.

The former Maharashtra chief minister had shown signs of improvement and been on and off the ventilator before being prepared for a transplant.

Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned for the day as a mark of respect to the departed leader. His death was announced by Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde in the Lok Sabha.

Deshmukh was a member of Rajya Sabha and minister without portfolio. Earlier, he was minister for science and technology, earth sciences and micro, small and medium enterprises. After he fell ill, his portfolios were given to Vayalar Ravi.

President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and a host of leaders across the political spectrum paid rich tributes to Deshmukh, describing him as a trusted colleague and able administrator.

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Image: Deshmukh greets his supporters in Mumbai
Photographs: Reuters

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Beginning his political journey as a 'sarpanch' of Babhalgaon village panchayat in 1974, Deshmukh negotiated the choppy political waters of Maharashtra with elan, becoming chief minister twice before moving over to Delhi as a member of the Union cabinet.

Hailing from the politically dominant Maratha community, Deshmukh, a graduate from the ILS Law College, Pune, was a grassroots Congress worker, who proved his mettle at all stages in his impressive political career.

Deshmukh was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for the first time in 1980 and followed it up with victories in 1985 and 1990.

His political sagacity landed him the coveted chief minister's chair for the first time in October 1999. He continued in the post from October 18, 1999 to January 17, 2003, when he had to make way for Sushilkumar Shinde, amid growing factionalism in the state Congress.

Amid mounting public outrage over the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008, Deshmukh resigned owning moral responsibility and shifted to Delhi taking the Rajya Sabha route.

Like most politicians, controversies did not spare him too. Deshmukh provoked indignation and was accused of "terror tourism" when he visited the fire-ravaged Taj hotel with actor son Riteish and filmmaker Ram Gopal Verma soon after the 26/11 carnage.

Though not an accused, Deshmukh was also under the scanner in the Adarsh housing scam for giving various clearances to the controversial housing society as chief minister.


Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Deshmukh
Photographs: Reuters

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