Devendra Fadnavis stepped back into the spotlight Saturday as he was sworn in as the 19th Chief Minister of Maharashtra for a second term. The visuals of Fadnavis taking oath at Raj Bhawan came as a surprise to many, at a time when a coalition government of the NCP, Congress and Shiv Sena, with Uddhav Thackeray at the helm, was firming up.
“Maharashtra needed a stable government, not a ‘khichdi’ government,” Fadnavis said, minutes after he took oath. He later added that he would take Maharashtra to newer and greater heights.
Fadnavis is a law graduate with a postgraduate degree in business management from Nagpur University, and a diploma in project management from Berlin.
An active member of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in his student life, Fadnavis was always a supporter of youth’s participation in politics. At 21, Fadnavis became the youngest municipal corporator of Nagpur Municipal Corporation in 1992 and held two consecutive terms before being elected as the Nagpur’s youngest and BJP’s first mayor in 1997.
After representing Nagpur in the legislative Assembly since 1999, Fadnavis was named the BJP’s state president in 2013 and then elected as the legislative party leader in 2014.
As the leader of the largest legislative party in the state assembly, Fadnavis became the eighteenth chief minister of Maharashtra and the first from the BJP.
It was Fadnavis’ populist policies that helped the BJP emerge as the single-largest party in the Maharashtra elections last month. At every election campaign, he would spell out the work and achievements of his government.
While the party hoped it would garner a majority in the House and shake off its bickering pre-poll ally Shiv Sena, the BJP found itself more dependent on it after it won just 105 seats in the 288-member House and the Sena bagged 56. The alliance, however, unravelled as the BJP refused back down from its position to keep the CM’s post for Fadnavis for the entire five-year term.
As the political negotiations between Sena-NCP-Congress took a serious turn, Shah and Fadnavis orchestrated a plan to reach out to Ajit Pawar, who had been elected the legislature party leader of NCP. Sources told The Indian Express their plan changed when negotiations between Sena-NCP-Congress took a serious turn.