Vilasrao Deshmukh was an affable man, always with a smile. When he spoke in public, it was extempore and he had the knack of carrying the house with him. If the audience did not laugh at least thrice in the course of a speech, then it was someone else speaking. Speaking without a prepared text allowed him the freedom to cover the sharp, biting observations with chocolate fudge.
He covered quite some distance as a politician - from the sarpanch of Bhabalgaon, a village in Latur, to the chief minister of Maharashtra to a senior minister manning important portfolios at the Centre. It was a distance far bigger than the his farmland at Latur, which he oversaw riding horseback.
He had panache. He knew how to dress well much before the 24x7 news television forced many to rush to designers. His suavity was remarkable. But he could spring nasty surprises too, such as quitting the Congress, seeking support of the Shiv Sena to re-enter active politics as a Legislative Council member.
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