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Will Amit, Dhiraj carry on dad Vilasrao Deshmukh's legacy?
Mumbai, Oct 25 - It's all in the family as scions, sons and daughters continue to rise in Maharashtra politics -- be it the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena, the Opposition Congress-Nationalist Congress Party or other political outfits.
The latest entrant to the Family Club Inc. is low-profile Congressman Dhiraj V. Deshmukh, the youngest son of late Chief Minister and ex-Union Minister Vilasrao D. Deshmukh.
After his political schooling in Zilla Parishad politics -- much like his illustrious father -- Dhiraj Deshmukh has made his maiden foray into state politics this year with a resounding victory in the Assembly elections from the Latur Rural constituency.
He secured a hefty 118,000 votes, the third highest margin in the state, in which all the 14 other contestants stand to forfeit their deposits.
Deshmukh is the younger brother of Amit V. Deshmukh, who was also re-elected for a third term from Latur City on a Congress ticket.
Their third sibling is the popular Bollywood actor-producer Ritesh Deshmukh.
Besides, their uncle is another senior politician -- Diliprao D. Deshmukh, a legislator and former state minister, who was the vice-chairman of the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank Ltd.
The simultaneous, and rare, entry of Amit Deshmukh and now Dhiraj Deshmukh to the legislature has fuelled political speculation of a possible larger role for the brothers in state politics, which is lacking in a strong, acceptable leadership.
"Both are well-educated, quietly ambitious, enjoy good personal image and belong to the respected Vilasrao Deshmukh clan. They are readily accepted by all sections in state political circles," a senior Congress leader told IANS.
Dhiraj Deshmukh launched his political career at the grassroots levels, including winning elections in the Zilla Parishad, and served the Indian Youth Congress before taking the plunge into state-level electoral politics and becoming a lawmaker.
"This victory has brought greater responsibilities on me and I pray for the continued support and blessings of my constituents and hope to live up to their expectations," he said after his resounding victory on Thursday.
His father Vilasrao Deshmukh was a two-time Chief Minister of Maharashtra besides being a Union Minister in former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's cabinet, handling several key portfolios such as rural development and heavy industries.
Coming under scathing attacks by the Opposition for his handling of the 2008 Mumbai terror strikes and its aftermath, Vilasrao Deshmukh was forced to quit barley 10 days after the ghastly attacks by Pakistani extremists.
Later, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha and served as a minister till his demise on August 14, 2012 due to health complications.
Besides the Deshmukh brothers, other prominent political scions to enter the legislature include Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray's son Aditya Thackeray and NCP President Sharad Pawar's grand-nephew Rohit Pawar.
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