Is Riteish Deshmukh prepared to take late father Vilasrao Deshmukh's political legacy forward? With rumours of him having joined the Indian National Congress doing the rounds, everyone wonders the same. If reports are to be believed, then he will be contesting the 2019 elections from his hometown Latur. Latur, the same city that witnessed Vilasrao Deshmukh's humble beginning as a Panchayat member and eventually a Sarpanch and his rise to becoming a Chief Minister later.
Sources close to Riteish neither confirm nor deny these rumours. Reportedly, Riteish isn't keen on commenting on it right now, as no official announcement has been made by the party. But if it turns out to be true, how good is his eligibility card?
In a system where we frequently complain about our Ministers not being academically capable of undertaking crucial ministries but are yet allocated to them, Ritesh is an architect by qualification who was drawn to the craft of acting. More than the degree, it is probably about one'a capacity of decisiveness and sensitivity.
For those uninitiated, Ritesh inherited the keen interest on politics from his father. He not only follows the developments closely but derives opinions that are taken seriously. During 2014 elections in Maharashtra, he was seen doing a roadshow in support of the local Congress candidate in Latur. But, here's the scoop. Since the formation of Maharashtra in 1960, the state has been mostly ruled by Congress. Before 2014, non-Congress allies were able to form a Government only twice. First in 1975 and later in 1978. 2014 was another big change that way. But while the political gurus were clueless as to who could chair as the Chief Minister, Riteish foresaw Devendra Fadnavis (present CM, Maharashtra) coming to power. To his close associates, he had predicted how Fadnavis was the next man.
Let's come back to the home-ground advantage. As stated earlier, Vilasrao Deshmukh was a member of the village Panchayat from 1974 to 1980. In between, from 1974 to 1976, he was also a Sarpanch (village head). The President of Osmanabad District Youth Congress from 1975 to 1978, a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly from 1980 to 1995 winning the 1980, 1985, and 1990 elections, a Minister in charge of over 15 ministries including Home, Transport, Legislative Affairs, Tourism and Agriculture during this entire period, and a Chief Minister from 1999-2003 and 2004-2008; that's how his brief political portfolio looked like. The family enjoys immense affluence and popularity in Latur. If the same manifests for Riteish, he pretty much becomes unbeatable.
Let us wait and see how his assumed political career unfolds!