New Delhi: Vilasrao Deshmukh on Tuesday became the
fourth Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences
since the formation of the UPA-II government.
66-year-old Deshmukh succeeds Pawan Kumar Bansal, who
after a tenure of little over six months, has returned to his
old Water Resources ministry.
After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was re-elected in May
2009, Prithviraj Chavan was appointed as the Minister for
Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.
HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, who held the twin portfolios in
UPA-I, was given the charge after Chavan was sent to
Maharashtra in November last year as chief minister.
The minor reshuffle of the Cabinet in January saw Bansal
get the Science and Technology and Earth Sciences portfolio as
additional charge to his Parliamentary Affairs ministry.
Deshmukh, who began his innings at the Centre in UPA-II as
Minister for Heavy Industries, was given the Rural Development
portfolio in January. He now has been made Minister of Science
and Technology and Earth Sciences.
One of the longest serving Chief Ministers of Maharashtra,
his journey in politics began as a village sarpanch in Latur
district. He steadily rose in the ranks to assume the top post
in the state twice.
Deshmukh had been a minister in various governments in
Maharashtra from 1982 to 1995 holding portfolios of revenue,
cooperation, agriculture, home, industries and education.
He became chief minister in 1999 but had to step down in
January 2003 and make way for Sushilkumar Shinde, a prominent
Dalit face of Congress, following factionalism.
He was reappointed Chief Minister after the Congress-NCP
alliance won the 2004 Assembly elections but had to quit in
the wake of the Mumbai terror attack in 2008.