IN BARELY 80 hours of taking charge, Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday resigned from his post, becoming the first Chief Minister to hold the post for the shortest term since the state came into being on May 1, 1960.
Fadnavis is also the first chief minister of the state to resign twice from the post in a one-month period. On November 8 he had resigned from the top post before the end of the Assembly’s tenure. Fadnavis however had the distinction of being in saddle for the longest term of five years as the first BJP and third non-Congress chief minister.
Fadnavis had assumed charge on October 31, 2014. The state assembly term ended on November 9. On November 8, he resigned as CM. And then, he took charge on November 23 only to resign on November 26.
While Fadnavis had smooth sailing in his first five-year term, the tenure of several Congress chief ministers ran into a controversy and they had to resign much before their tenure ended. Even of the two Shiv Sena CMs, one had to resign midway. “Fadnavis’ second and shortest term turned out to be most controversial,” say political analysts.
#The short-tenures of Congress Chief Ministers actually began in the 70s after the longest 11-year tenure of Vasantrao Naik. It was Congress leader Vasantrao Naik, also from Vidarbha like Fadnavis, who was the first CM of Maharashtra to have completed a full five-year term.
Naik first became the chief minister on December 5, 1963 and held the post till March 1, 1967. He again became chief minister on March 1, 1967 and held the reins till March 13, 1972. Then again from 1972 to 1975. He held the CM post for the longest duration of 11 years and 77 days.
First it was Naik who resigned as his longest tenure had created unrest among senior Congress leaders who were jockeying for succession. Naik resigned in February 1975 as Shankarrao Chavan took over. Chavan took responsibility for the party’s debacle in the 1977 Lok Sabha elections. He was replaced by Vasantdada Patil.
#In 1979, Sharad Pawar who had quit Congress (U), and formed Congress (S), became the CM as he formed a coalition government with the help of the Janata Party, the CPM and other small parties. He led the Progressive Democratic Front.
Pawar’s government was dismissed by Indira Gandhi who returned to power in 1980. After Pawar’s government was dismissed, the state was placed under Presidential rule, for the first time in the state’s history.
#Abdul Rehman Antulay who replaced Pawar held the post for one year 217 days from June 9, 1980 before he resigned in the wake of the cement scandal.
#Babasaheb Bhosale also held the post for 1 year eleven days from June 21, 1982. Shivajirao Patil-Nilangekar who replaced Bhosale lasted as CM for 276 days from June 3, 1985. Shankarrao Chavan who replaced Nilangekar was in saddle for two years 106 days. Sharad Pawar then held the post twice from June 1988, but resigned in 1991 just after 3 years of being in office.
#Sudharrao Naik who replaced him in June 25, 1991, resigned after one year, 242 days. Sharad Pawar again became CM on March 6, 1993 but resigned as the Shiv Sena-BJP came to power. Manohar Joshi who became Shiv Sena’s first CM resigned after three years and 323 days. Narayan Rane then replaced him and last 258 days. He resigned as the Congress-NCP government came to power.
#Vilasrao Deshmukh then lasted three years 90 days. He resigned and was replaced by Sushilkumar Shinde in 2003. Shinde resigned after one year and 286 days and was replaced by Vilasrao Deshmukh in 2004. Deshmukh again resigned after 4 years and 33 days. He was replaced by Ashok Chavan who resigned after more than two years. He was replaced by Prithviraj Chavan who resigned after BJP-Sena came to power. Chavan served for three years 319 days.
#Narayan Rane, also of the Shiv Sena, was the CM only for 276 days from February 1, 1999 to October 17, 1999.
#Yeshwantrao Chavan the first Chief Minister made an honourable exit after he was appointed the Defence Minister by the then Prime Minister Pandit
Jawaharlal Nehru in the wake of India-China border conflict.
#Sharad Pawar who served as CM for four terms collectively was in the saddle for more than seven years. And so was Vilasrao Deshmukh who served as CM twice. Vasantdada Patil who was the CM also for four times could serve for less than four years. Patil then went on to become governor of Rajasthan.
Giving his take on the game of musical chair in the Congress, senior Congress leader Ulhas Pawar, who has been with the party for 50 years, said, “Abdul Rehman Antulay had to resign in the wake of the cement scandal. And 14 years later, he was acquitted in the case. He was unfortunate to lose his seat.”
Similarly, he said, Sharad Pawar in 1990 had to resign once after people like G R Khairnar and Anna Hazare made certain allegations against him. “But nothing was proved…Sharad Pawar was also unlucky,” he said. “In 1980 though, Pawar’s government was dismissed after he refused to heed a call from Sanjay Gandhi for merging his party with Congress,” he said.
#While Ashok Chavan quit in the wake of the Adarsh scandal, Vilasrao Deshmukh had to resign in the wake of 26/11 Mumbai attack. “Just because NCP asked Home Minister R R Patil to resign, Congress directed Deshmukh to quit,” said Ulhas Pawar. Among other charges, CBI had accused Chavan of sanctioning additional FSI for Adarsh society in Mumbai in return of two flats for his relatives.
#Sena’s first non-Congress CM Manohar Joshi resigned in the wake of the controvery over change of reservation for a plot of land in Pune. “Babasaheb Bhosale who had to deal with rebellion had faced allegations relating to distribution of liquor distilling licences,” the Congress leader said.
BJP said Fadnavis could last five years because he had full support from party bosses. “Prime Minister and our party president fully backed the CM. Besides, he too ensured that his government rose to people’s expectations, remained responsive to their demands and ensured a non-corrupt government,” said a BJP spokesperson.
At a function in Pune, BJP national executive president J P Nadda said Fadnavis has changed the face of Maharashtra which was marred by corrupt practices. “The state was largely known for corruption…There was musical chair game going on in the state and no CM could complete the five year tenure,” he said.
Father-son duo as Chief Minister
Shankarrrao Chavan and Ashok Chavan are the only two father-son to have became CM in Maharashtra. Both from Congress hailed from Nanded in Marathwada.
Ashok Chavan was the CM from December 8, 2008 to October 15, 2009. And again from November 7, 2009 to November 9, 2010. His father, Shankarrao Chavan held the post from February 21, 1975 to November 17, 1977 and again from March 12, 1986 to June 26, 1988. Both the father-son duo held the post twice.
Like Chavans, the Naik family of Vidarbha also held the CM’s post twice. Vasantrao Naik was the longest serving CM while his nephew Sudhakarrao Naik was the CM from June 25, 1991 to Februry 22, 1993.
Before Fadnavis, Prithviraj Chavan was the CM from November 10, 2010 to September 26, 2014. He hailed from Satara district in Western Maharashtra. And so was the first CM Yeshwantrao Chavan who took over the reins on May 1, 1960 and held for two years and 202 days till November 19, 1962.
PK Sawant who became the CM on November 25, 1963 had the shortest tenure of 10 days till December 4, 1963. Marutrao Kannamwar who was the second CM of the state lasted one year four days from November 4, 1962.
While an overwhelming majority of CMs were from Congress, BJP had only one CM while Sena held the post twice. The NCP has had no CM so far though Ajit Pawar has served as the deputy Chief Minister.
Maratha community has held the post for the highest number of 10 times which includes the likes of Yeshwantrao Chavan, Shankarrao Chavan, Vasantdada Patil, Sharad Pawar, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Prithviraj Chavan, Narayan Rane, Babasaheb Bhosale, Ashok Chavan, Shivajirao-Patil Nilengakar.
The Naiks were from Banjara community. Shinde hailed from Dalit community while Manohar Joshi and Devendra Fadnavis were from Brahmin community. Antulay was the only Muslim CM.
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