The BJP in Maharashtra has been on an accelerated growth path since the party fared successfully in the 2014 general elections where it managed to win 23 out of the total 24 Parliamentary Constituencies it contested on. What followed this massive victory was negotiations with the alliance partners, mainly Shiv Sena, for the upcoming state assembly elections the same year. However, failing to reach a seat-sharing agreement, BJP went on into the elections without its major alliance partner. The BJP, without its 25-year-old alliance partner, faced the assembly elections and emerged victorious on 122 seats, witnessing a massive jump from just 46 seats last assembly elections. With the maximum number of seats in the assembly and re-negotiated alliance with the Shiv Sena, BJP was all set to take on the top post in the state.
The absence of senior BJP leaders like Gopinath Munde was sure to hamper the discussions for the possible candidates for the CM post; finally, the name of 48-year-old lawmaker, Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis, emerged as the top choice partly because of his contribution to the BJP’s electoral campaign in 2014 general elections. As the leader of the biggest party in the assembly, Devendra Fadnavis was appointed as the chief minister of Maharashtra on 31 October 2014.
Proving his selection right, Devendra Fadnavis, over the past few years, has surely emerged as one of the most effective Chief Ministers in India. Maharashtra, for the last 4.5 years under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis, has witnessed massive steps forward in several critical domains like Agriculture, Water Resources and others.
In an interview with Raj Chengappa of India Today Group, Devendra Fadnavis has given an insight into his administration and successful 4.5 years of its functioning.
In the Interview, Maharashtra CM mentions several aspects of administration which constitute the formula behind the success of his administration.
Firstly, Devendra Fadnavis revealed how he tackled serious challenges. For every major challenge, a war room was created with domain experts and stakeholders. However, his functioning was not limited to address challenges in the most critical times, but Maharashtra CM also devised mechanisms to track and follow the tough decisions taken by his government with respect to these issues. “Challenges are always there but I have not run away from any single challenge, I have faced every challenge. When you forthcomingly face them, you’ll find a solution,” Fadnavis stated in the interview.
The second component of his success formulae is, Dialogue. Engagement with the different stakeholders has been a key aspect of Devendra Fadnavis’ administration in Maharashtra. This trait of the state administration was clearly evident during the Maratha agitation in the state in 2018. During the agitation, not a single incident of violence was reported. The farmer agitation in the state was also dealt with in a similar fashion, where comprehensive dialogues with the stakeholders led to effective resolution and diffusal of the situation. “Not a single firing, not a single Lathi-charge, earlier in every agitation there would be a lathi charge or a firing; here it was only a dialogue,” he said in the interview.
The third characteristic of the Devendra Fadnavis administration has surely been its willingness to take tough decisions on critical matters. Whether it is the nod to the Maratha reservation or Devendra Fadnavis’ condemnation of Sadhvi Pragya’s comments against slain ATS officer Hemant Karkare. Maharashtra government under the leadership of Devendra Fadnavis has not shied away from taking tough calls on critical issues.
And finally, Devendra Fadnavis has been proactively diligent at nurturing BJP’s alliance partners over the past few years the alliance with the Shiv Sena has been a tough task for the BJP to balance and Devendra Fadnavis has surely been successful in keeping the balance to suit both the BJP and the Shiv Sena. Coming to the ensuing assembly elections the alliance has already settled on 50-50 formulae despite BJP appearing to have an upper hand considering the recent Lok Sabha poll results. In terms of leadership too, Devendra Fadnavis has been clear and firm on his words. “We are absolutely open for Dy. Chief ministers post. In fact even now we have offered them (Shiv Sena) , when we were discussing our alliance, I told them if today they want to make Dy CM we are open for that,” he said in the Interview.
Devendra Fadnavis, before taking on the CM’s post had to face stiff resistance given his administrative experience being limited to a constitutional post of just being the Mayor of Nagpur before being appointed as the CM. However, by his patience and constant learning, Devendra Fadnavis has been successful in maneuvering his government around difficult challenges. The recent success in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls is also surely a green signal for the Devendra Fadnavis’ administration in the state. However, it remains to be seen how the BJP led alliance in the state tackles the much crucial upcoming assembly elections towards the end of this year.