From PM’s blue-eyed boy to the face of BJP in Maharashtra

Mumbai: Former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis continues to be a blue-eyed boy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and at the same time enjoys a rapport with other central leaders. Despite BJP winning 105 seats, the party could not retain power after Shiv Sena broke the alliance and later Ajit Pawar failed to muster support of adequate legislators. The party high command reiterated his faith and confidence in the leadership of Fadnavis and made him leader of opposition in the state assembly.

Fadnavis recently, in an interview, admitted that he could not believe for a while that although he had come back (Mi Punha Yein), it was not sufficient to remain in power. Despite losing power, Fadnavis remained an undisputed leader in the party despite outbursts from party veteran Eknath Khadse and former minister Pankaja Munde.

During five year as CM, Fadnavis not only silenced his competitors within the party but checkmated the traditional political rivals Congress and NCP. Although Shiv Sena, after initial refusal, joined the government, it had no voice as Fadnavis was the boss and he had his say in government functioning.

Initially, Fadnavis was attacked by the opposition for lack of administrative experience and skill to head the alliance government. However, he not only tightened his hold on the administration but made opposition to do mere reaction-based politics.

Further, despite being attacked for coming from the Brahmin community, Fadnavis reached out to practically every caste and community and won over their confidence. Even though his government failed to keep the poll promise of providing reservation to the Dhangar community, he gave them a slew of incentives.

Similarly, he softly handled the agitation for Maratha reservation. It was to his credit that the government passed the legislation on providing quota for the Maratha community which was subsequently upheld by the Bombay High Court.

Fadnavis set a record of sorts of completing five year tenure as the CM after former Chief Minister Vasantrao Naik who had held the CM’s post for more than 11 years. Under his leadership, BJP won maximum seats in the civic and local body elections and thereby spread its wings across the state by capturing the bastions of Congress and NCP.

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