Devendra Fadnavis new CM Maharashtra
Devendra Fadnavis, president of the Maharashtra unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and member of the legislative assembly (MLA) from Nagpur South-West, has been elected the new chief minister of Maharashtra. Fadnavis is the fourth chief minister from the Vidarbha region. Fadnavis will be Maharashtra’s 18th chief minister and the BJP’s first. He will be sworn in along with seven ministers on Friday at Wankhede Stadium.
At 44, Fadnavis will be the second youngest Maharashtra chief minister – next only to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, who was sworn in when he was 37 years old. Complications had cropped up after nearly 40 BJP legislators from the Vidarbha region – where the party won 44 seats in the assembly elections – openly backed Union minister Nitin Gadkari for the top job. Three MLAs even offered to quit in order to pave the way for Gadkari to get elected. Amid the confusion, Gadkari met Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Saturday. There were indications the BJP’s parent body had endorsed Fadnavis as CM. According to RSS insiders, Bhagwat wanted Gadkari to remain at the Centre, and Fadnavis to take the reins of the state.
Fadnavis, whom Modi had described as “Nagpur’s gift to the country” at an election rally, had headed the BJP in the state when it posted most impressive performances in both Lok Sabha and assembly polls. Known to be a meticulous politician with a clean image, he has his roots in the RSS. An articulate politician, he is also credited with pushing the previous government into a corner over the alleged irrigation scam, which many say is primarily responsible for a spate of suicide by farmers in the parched Vidarbha region.
In a state dominated by Maratha politics and politicians, Fadnavis is also the only the second Brahmin to become the chief minister — after BJP’s estranged ally Shiv Sena’s Manohar Joshi. His clean public image and solid backing from the Modi-Shah combine helped the young leader from Nagpur emerge as the winner.