Like a disciplined worker, Devendra Fadnavis did not discuss the possibility of him heading the state till he was officially announced as the leader of the house on Tuesday.
And, when he spoke out, the 44-year-old proved why PM Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah picked him as Maharashtra’s new chief minister.
His maturity, said party insiders, comes from him learning from his past.
On his way to the top, Fadnavis faced fierce opposition from senior leaders, who claimed he was just a kid, and hence they would not work under him.
A faction led by Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari raised a banner of revolt against him, but the strong leadership tamed them immediately.
Eknath Khadse, a senior leader and a CM aspirant till Tuesday, will join Fadnavis’ cabinet, although unwillingly.
Fadnavis’ family and friends are understandably proud of his achievements. “He has worked a lot since he joined politics,” his mother Sarita said from Nagpur.
People close to Fadnavis said he wasn’t as naïve as his adversaries projected him to be. They attributed his success to his father late Gangadharrao Fadnavis, firm belief in the RSS ideology and the social connect he has established.
“Essentially, Fadnavis is a self-made man, though many senior leaders in the state claimed to have helped him through his journey. He learned to walk the tight rope after his father died. He was just a teenager then. He has worked hard over these years,” said a close friend, requesting anonymity.
Fadnavis’ wife Amruta said her husband had worked patiently and maintained a clean image. “He has a visionary approach. His hard work is now paying off,” she said.
The young leader showed his political acumen after the death of BJP senior leader Gopinath Munde. Although Fadnavis was chosen for the CM job much earlier, his victory was imminent after the Assembly polls.
“Mundeji was one of the leaders who helped me in my political career. I also thank Nitin Gadkariji for his valuable support,” Fadnavis said after being elected as the first BJP CM of the state.
One of the most highly educated CMs, Fadnavis has an agenda – Vision Maharashtra.
He wants to minimise corruption, expand education, create job opportunities, and make the government a vendor who will serve the people without any delay.
“Our government will work in accordance with Modi’s policy of sushasan [good governance],” he said.
He said his government will take everyone along on its way to progress.