Known for his repartees, union heavy industries minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Monday took a dig at his one-time protege, Ashok Chavan, over the latter adding the honorific ‘rao’.
“It should be left to the people’s wish whether to add ‘Rao’ in the name or not,” Deshmukh said, in a veiled reference to the Maharashtra chief minister’s office on the sixth floor of state secretariat building now having a new nameplate — that of Ashokrao Chavan.
In temple town Pandharpur in this district for offering prayers to Lord Vitthal, Deshmukh told reporters that “no leader can get respect by forcing the people to do that (adding ‘rao’)”.
“I have always taken my name as Vilas Deshmukh and never added or forced the people to call me Vilasrao in my entire life.
“It was the true love of the people that they always called me ‘Vilasrao’ with respect. I enver asked them,” he said.
A fortnight ago, the old nameplate at the chief minister’s official residence Varsha in Malabar Hill bearing the name ‘Ashok Chavan’ suddenly gave way to a shiny brass one with the name now stating ‘Ashokrao Chavan’.
When reporters had questioned Chavan about the change in his nameplate, he had brushed aside the “hype” generated in the media over the nameplate change.