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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

Maharashtra Assembly Election 2019: Why and how Devendra Fadnavis emerged as BJP’s top pick

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has managed to emerge as a strong leader despite not belonging to one of the dominant castes of the western state. Here are the reasons for the rise in his stature.

assembly-elections Updated: Oct 11, 2019 12:51 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Maharashtra chief minister  Devendra Fadnavis at the election rally of BJP candidate for Chinchwad assembly constituency in Pune,  on Thursday,October,10, 2019.
Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis at the election rally of BJP candidate for Chinchwad assembly constituency in Pune, on Thursday,October,10, 2019.(HT Photo )
         

Devendra Fadnavis is facing his first assembly election as the chief minister of Maharashtra.

A former mayor of Nagpur Municipal Corporation, Fadnavis’ stature in Maharashtra politics has grown steadily. The 49-year-old is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) face for this month’s election.

Here are four reasons why Fadnavis has managed to emerge as a strong leader despite not belonging to one of the dominant castes of the western state:

1. Fadnavis is from Nagpur, the city that is home to the top leadership of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the BJP. Fadnavis’ proximity to the RSS’ top brass has ensured that he largely has a smooth ride as the chief minister. Unflinching support from Prime Minister Narendra Modi also came in handy for him.

2. Despite having many other leaders who were senior to him in age, politics and the BJP, Fadnavis managed to cut most of them to size through deft political moves. Most of those who nursed chief ministerial ambition and could have been a threat to him are either out of the council of ministers or have lost relevance in the BJP’s scheme of things.

Also Read | How Modi-Shah-Fadnavis changed Maharashtra politics - By Rajdeep Sardesai

3. Fadnavis’ ability to capitalise on the popularity of Prime Minister Modi and deliver victories in the BJP in successive elections, such as municipal and panchayat polls, consolidated his position as the chief minister and the undisputed leader of the party. His unblemished image in a state where politicians lost their posts because of scandals and allegations of financial irregularities was an advantage for him.

4. Fadnavis’ ability to keep the Shiv Sena’s ambitions under check and negotiate a deal, every time the two parties came together, benefitting the BJP helped him grow. The Sena’s admission to its junior brother status in the alliance, after showing some tantrums, ensured there was no one to challenge his leadership.