Can greenhorn Fadnavis deliver?

  • Ketaki Ghoge, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Oct 29, 2014 16:44 IST

Can chief minister designate Devendra Fadnavis transform the state the way former chief ministers Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar changed Gujarat and Bihar respectively or how Manohar Parrikar is changing Goa?
That is the big question as the new lean BJP government comes to power under Fadnavis on Friday.

If the BJP has to deliver on the aspirations of crores of Maharashtrians, Fadnavis will have to overcome the limitations of not having clear majority in the Assembly to make a substantial impact on the state in the next five years. And he will have to prioritise on two aspects the BJP had been crying hoarse about in its poll campaign — development and a corruption-free government.

“Coalition politics diluted the CM’s power. That needs to be reinstitutionalised for any real progress. Strong support must be given to the bureaucracy by getting the best people to man key departments,’’ said B Venkatesh Kumar, political analyst.

And, therein perhaps lies the challenge for Fadnavis. If the young CM has to do a Modi, he will have to dominate over his senior colleagues in the government like Eknath Khadse and Vinod Tawde besides tackling an unhappy Sena if it joins the government. If the Sena does not join the government, Fadnavis will have to keep the NCP happy even as he takes corruption head on. On the face of it, these are mutually exclusive goals.

“Sitting in the opposition and running a government are two different things. It remains to be seen how Fadnavis overcomes these limitations. Can he take dynamic and speedy decisions to spur infrastructure if he is constantly worried about his government’s clean image. Can he get the bureaucracy out of its lethargy and wariness post the Adarsh and irrigation scam?’’ a senior bureaucrat said.

Experts feel even if Fadnavis delivers on a few key priorities, he will make a big change. “The top priorities should be infrastructure and improving governance. The city’s makeover should be back on the agenda with certain key projects such as the transharbour link getting immediate priority.

Transformational legislations such as the Right to Services [also introduced as a bill by Fadnavis earlier], which promises timely delivery of citizen services whether it is registration of property or a licence, should be carried out,’’ said Sanjay Ubale, a former bureaucrat and CEO at Tata Infrastructure, who headed the Mumbai makeover in 2003, before leaving the IAS service.

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