Devendra Fadnavis : Emergence of a Maha’ Supremo

MT Bureau

Mumbai : The just concluded municipalities’ elections in Maharashtra where in which the BJP emerged with one-third of the seats, has elevated chief minister Devendra Fadnavis as a super boss within the saffron party and also as the undisputed leader of the State.

While Fadnavis hit the road to address 40 election rallies, BJP stalwart and union minister for transport, Nitin Gadkari was missing from the poll scene, as he was pre-occupied with his daughter’s marriage and the ongoing stormy Parliament session.

Fadnavis single-handedly ran the election campaign and ensured the victory of the coalition candidates by propagating the on-going development activities of the State government.
Out of the 40 public rallies Fadnavis addressed, the BJP could win 33 places. This has shown that the developmental model of Fadnavis in the state and Modi’s initiative to ban high-value currency notes, were appreciated by the public in general.

Despite party’s major setback suffered by Pankaja Munde’s candidates in Parli which happens to be in the constituency of State BJP chief Raos Danve, chief minister, Fadnavis bounced back by bagging 890 councillors and presidents in 52 municipalities which is unprecedented in the state.
Political observers say all credit for the outcome goes to chief minister, Fadnavis who tirelessly coordinated the entire election campaign.

The elections also proved to be an eye-opener for the BJP as, earlier, chief minister, Fadnavis, one of the youngest CMs in the country, was initially taken lightly by his opponents and even the bureaucracy. His initiatives to counter the problems faced by the common man, particularly farmers in the wake of demonetization of high value currency notes, was also appreciated in every circle.

Close on the heels of demonetizing of the Rs 1000-500 notes, when the general public was in shock and panic,Fadnavis had personally pleaded with and convinced the Prime Minister’s Office to extend many reliefs to the general public of Maharashtra.

He even told private hospitals to accept cheques from patients and if such cheques were dishonoured, the government would compensate upto Rs 10,000 each. His initiatives to counter the pain of demonetization problem is now a role model for other states to follow.

Another ambitious project, Jalyukta Shivar , initiated by Fadnavis, is an example for other states on water conservation. Rajasthan has implemented it in toto and other states expressed their willingness to adopt the model soon.

His foresightedness was also reflected in the elections. He introduced the system of direct election of president of municipality. Besides, having the advantage of Urban Development Department under him, he can also control all the municipalities by appointing trusted CEO of his choice as well. By doing so, he is also trying to consolidate the party’s strength in rural area where the Congress and the NCP are still a force to reckon with. He knew that more than 50% of BJP MLAs are from non-BJP background and they can ditch the organization any time, he tried to create an alternative faces to counter these party MLAs and hence he would not rely on them for the next state elections.

The present election outcome has made Fadnavis an undisputed statesman of Maharashtra, a status once enjoyed by stalwarts like Yashwantrao Chavan, Sharad Pawar and Vilasrao Deshmukh!