Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis has written no best-sellers but “How To Understand and Read the State Budget”, one of his three books, all in Marathi, indicates he has thought deeply about the formidable job that he took charge of today, amid much pomp and splendour at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.
At 44, Maharashtra’s 18th chief minister (CM) is its second-youngest ever, after Sharad Pawar, who was 38 when he became CM in 1978.
Fadnavis takes charge of a state–one of India’s richest, with some of its poorest people–mired in debt, of more than Rs 100,000 crore. He will require all his knowledge and political acumen to turn it around.
Fadnavis certainly possesses the knowledge, and like the man who picked him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he is aware of the need to market himself. He is present on social media, and his sharply designed website isn’t above a little hyperbole. “Devendra,” it says, “is a man known for great wisdom and political intellect. He is known for his strength of character, sharpness of mind, and organizational skills. He is considered to be farsighted and firm in his approach and extremely humble in his dealings.”
Echoing the great American civil rights activist, Martin Luther King, Fadnavis says: “I have a dream. To make Maharashtra the leading state in the country–infrastructure, power, water availability and many others (sic) areas. I have a dream–to make Maharashtrian dream come true. I have a dream of making Maharashtra a MahaanRashtra (great land). Come join me in making this dream real.”
Some things you should know about Fadnavis:
1. He is a merit-holding law graduate.
2. He has presented papers at international fora: on disaster management and energy security in Switzerland, China and the US.
3. He uses an iPhone and iPad.
4. He once modelled for a men’s store in Nagpur, as a favour to a photographer friend, appearing later on billboards.
5. He has 22 cases of rioting against him, as Indiaspend previously reported, possibly a fallout of the numerous “agitations” he has led (his website says he has fought for (and against), among other things, ownership rights for slum-dwellers, terrorism, water, power cuts, social issues, corruption, taxes and a zoo).
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