He has bounced back after his unceremonious exit from Mantralaya last year.
Congress leader Vilasrao Deshmukh, who had to step down as chief minister after the 26/11 terror attack, was on Wednesday nominated as cabinet minister in the central government.
“This is a reward for my work in the Lok Sabha elections during which my party won maximum seats in Maharashtra,” Deshmukh told reporters.
Deshmukh campaigned extensively and was also part of the team that kept Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party in check during the polls. With his induction, the party wants to strengthen the anti-Pawar leaders in Maharashtra, especially in the run-up to the Assembly polls later this year.
While selecting ministers from Maharashtra, the Congress has chosen three from western Maharashtra, two from Mumbai and one each from central Maharashtra and Vidarbha.
Former city Congress president Gurudas Kamat has been nominated as a minister after a long wait. The party also nominated a young MP, Pratik Patil (36) who hails from western Maharashtra, the NCP’s stronghold. Besides, Sushilkumar Shinde and Prithviraj Chavan will represent the region where the party plans to wrest control from the NCP.
Meanwhile, the NCP has managed to retain its berths in the Union Ministry. Like the previous UPA government, the NCP has got three ministerial berths including one cabinet (Sharad Pawar) and two ministers of state.
Pawar’s close aide, Praful Patel, will be minister of state with independent charge, probably of the Civil Aviation ministry again.
Pawar has nominated NCP’s MP from Meghalaya, Agatha Sangma, for the second post of minister.