Mumbai, Oct 31 (UNI) Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who completed three years in office today, is going to have a special mention among the chief ministers of Maharashtra as he has become the third chief minister to have served for the longest period just behind late Vasantrao Naik (11 years and 3 months) and Sharad Pawar (6 years and 7 months).
Mr Deshmukh has also got fair chance to surpass Mr Pawar as he had completed six years and three months in two tenures as the chief minister, while Mr Pawar had completed six years and seven months in his four terms.
With Mr Deshmukh himself saying that he enjoys the news of his removal, it is likely that ever-smiling 62-year-old Mr Deshmukh may surpass Mr Pawar's record and occupy the number two position.
Mr Deshmukh, who started his political career in 1980 after getting elected from Latur assembly constituency, became the chief minister for the first time in 1999. He continued to be in the chair for three-and-half years before giving his post to his dear friend Sushilkumar Shinde.
However, Mr Deshmukh, who is considered as the most powerful leader just next to Maratha strongman Mr Pawar in the state, bounced back to the coveted post on November 1, 2004, to become the chief minister and Mr Shinde was packed off to Andhra Pradesh as the governor and later became Union Power minister.
Deshmukh's second tenure passed smoothly than his first tenure, in which there was an attempt by the opposition to topple him.
During these three years, there were several instances when the media was flooded with news that the Chief Minister might be removed from his post. However, he continued to be firm in the saddle and enjoyed the news of his removal, thanks to the 'there is no alternative'(TINA) factor.