A low-profile member of the upper house, Chandrakant Patil, will be appointed as the president of the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP). Patil, 55, a confidant of party chief Amit Shah, will replace Devendra Fadnavis, who will take oath as BJP’s first chief minister in the state on Friday.
At present, Patil is the vice-president of the state BJP.
Patil shot into prominence after Shah asked him to negotiate the government formation with the Shiv Sena last week.
The Maratha leader represents Pune division graduates’ constituency and has worked full-time for the party’s student wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for 13 years.
He also managed the Gujarat ABVP unit in which Shah was an office-bearer. He has also worked as joint-secretary of the Kolhapur division of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
BJP insiders said Patil was keen to have a ministerial berth, but the top brass wanted him in the organisation because of his strong connections with the RSS.
Also, his appointment will balance the socio-political equations in the state. As the CM will be a Brahmin from Vidarbha, the BJP needs to give some political leverage to Maratha-dominated western Maharashtra, where it has increased its base in the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
Raised in Mumbai, Patil, who is affectionately called Dada, has a commerce degree from Siddharth College. He currently lives in Gargoti village in Kolhapur district, and is a two-time legislator in the upper house.