April 13, 2024
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Devendra Fadnavis: Maharashtra’s Own Game Changer

The immortal bard of English literature William Shakespeare once wrote “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” It goes without saying that Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis belongs to that rare breed of men who achieve greatness with their own merit. Devendra Fadnavis’s  journey from being the youngest mayor of Nagpur to becoming the Deputy CM is truly inspiring in every sense. Devendra Fadnavis is a leader who can be truly called the man of the masses whose political journey is a narrative in resilience, reform and visionary governance. 

With several accomplishments up his sleeve, this man for all seasons was born on July 22, 1970, in Nagpur, the famed ‘Orange City’ of Maharashtra. Devendra Fadnavis assumed office as the 18th Chief Minister of the state on October 31, 2014, serving until November 12, 2019. Additionally, he held the position of Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly from 2019 to 2022, and previously served as the President of the BJP state unit from 2013 to 2015. 

Notably, he became Chief Minister at the age of 44, making Devendra Fadnavis the second-youngest to hold the position in Maharashtra’s history, after Sharad Pawar. His tenure as Chief Minister also included a brief second term during the 2019 political crisis, spanning five days before his resignation on November 28. As a prominent member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, his contributions have not only shaped the contours of Maharashtra’s politics but also its developmental trajectory.

Devendra Fadnavis Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister

Devendra Fadnavis

Early Life and Formative Years

The foundation of Devendra Fadnavis’s political insights and values was laid early in his life. Born into a Marathi Brahmin family, with a lineage of political and social involvement, his upbringing was steeped in the ethos of public service. His father, Gangadhar Fadnavis, was a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council from Nagpur, and his mother, Sarita Fadnavis, is a descendant of the distinguished Kaloti family of Amravati. Both of them played pivotal roles in his formative years. The incarceration of his father during the Emergency instilled in young Fadnavis a profound sense of justice and resilience, shaping his ideological moorings and future political engagements.

Educational Pursuits and Early Political Forays

Devendra Fadnavis’s educational journey, encompassing a graduate degree in law, a post-graduate degree in business management, and a diploma in Methods and Techniques of Project Management equipped him with the analytical and strategic acumen that would later define his political career. His early foray into politics through the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) marked the beginning of a journey that would see him ascend to significant political heights. At the age of 27, he became the youngest mayor of Nagpur Municipal Corporation, setting the stage for a career characterized by youthful energy and innovative governance.

The Mantle of Chief

Ministership

Appointed as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra on October 31, 2014, Devendra Fadnavis assumed leadership as the head of the largest party in the state assembly. Following his appointment, his government secured a vote of confidence by voice vote on November 12, 2014, affirming its mandate to govern.

His tenure as the Chief Minister from 2014 to 2019 was marked by ambitious projects and transformative initiatives. Under his leadership, Maharashtra saw the launch of the ‘Mumbai Next’ initiative, aimed at transforming the metropolis into a global financial and entertainment hub. His government’s commitment to digitization and transparency was evident in the inauguration of the Maharashtra Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) in Nagpur, making Maharashtra the first state in India to digitize its police force comprehensively.

Flagship Projects and 

Developmental Initiatives

One of Devendra Fadnavis’s most ambitious projects was the Samruddhi Expressway, which enhanced connectivity and fostered economic development between Mumbai and Nagpur. This initiative not only promised to reduce travel time but also aimed at bridging the urban-rural divide, thereby catalysing socio-economic growth. Additionally, his administration was marked by significant strides in digital governance, agricultural development, and social welfare, including the pioneering 1% reservation for orphans in government jobs and educational institutions.

Notably, in 2015, Devendra Fadnavis introduced the Chief Minister Fellowship programme, offering graduates and postgraduates an 11-month stint with the Maharashtra government to gain administrative experience. Designed to nurture youth talent, the initiative included stipends and other benefits, with the eligibility criteria focused on age, education, and language proficiency.

Additionally, Devendra Fadnavis spearheaded the ‘Magel Tyala Shettale’ scheme in 2016 to tackle drought and promote sustainable agriculture. This initiative surpassed its targets, benefiting farmers by making farms available for sustainable agricultural production and enhancing irrigation through watershed management and water conservation efforts.

In 2017, under his leadership, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Krushi Sanman Yojana was announced, providing a substantial Rs 34,022 Crore loan waiver to 89 lakh farmers. This scheme alleviated financial burdens for crop and medium-term borrowers, contributing to agricultural stability.

Furthermore, in 2019, Devendra Fadnavis initiated a Rs 4,293 Crore water grid project in the hard-hit Marathwada region to combat drought. The project aimed to transport water from the Konkan region to the Godavari basin, fundamentally transforming Marathwada’s water landscape and reducing its vulnerability to drought.

His visionary leadership also paved the way for the launch of Automated Weather Stations (AWS) in 2016. They were instrumental in providing accurate weather data to farmers, helping mitigate losses caused by untimely rains and hailstorms. With plans for over 2,000 AWS, this initiative aimed to enhance farming practices and resilience in the face of climatic challenges.

Devendra Fadnavis Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister

Devendra Fadnavis

Beginning of a New Chapter

Following political upheavals, Devendra Fadnavis assumed the role of Deputy Chief Minister in 2022, continuing his influence on the state’s governance and development. His partnership with Ajit Pawar marked a new chapter in the state’s political landscape, with a renewed focus on infrastructure development, social welfare, and economic growth.

A man whose gaze is always on the horizon, Fadnavis unveiled the Mumbai Metropolis Metaverse on February 19, with a vision to transform the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) into a global city of dreams by 2025. This immersive virtual representation of Mumbai offers a glimpse into the future, showcasing ongoing projects and planned developments that will reshape the cityscape. 

Through the metaverse, the government aims to provide residents with a preview of forthcoming amenities and infrastructure enhancements, fostering a sense of anticipation and excitement for the city’s evolution in the years ahead. Devendra Fadnavis highlighted 12 key projects within the metaverse that will contribute to the transformation of the metropolis, ushering in a new era of growth and development.

No Full Stops to Accolades

Devendra Fadnavis’s leadership and contributions have been recognized both nationally and internationally. Notable accolades include the Best Parliamentarian Award by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (2002–03) and being honoured as a Lee Kuan Yew Exchange Fellow by the prestigious Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore, where he delivered a speech on ‘Infrastructure-led Growth: Maharashtra – India’s Engine of Development.’ Fadnavis’s delegation also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, showcasing partnerships for infrastructure development projects in Maharashtra.

Furthermore, the Deputy CM also received an Honorary Doctorate from Osaka City University, Japan, for his contribution to the socio-economic development of Maharashtra, becoming the first Indian to receive this prestigious recognition. His outstanding leadership was recognized with the Outstanding Leadership in Development Award from Georgetown University, USA.

Devendra Fadnavis’s diplomatic endeavours extended to Mauritius, where he inaugurated a statue of the Maratha warrior king, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and signed an MOU between the Economic Development Board (Mauritius) and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation to enhance investment opportunities. His visit marked a significant milestone in diplomatic relations between India and the Indian Ocean island nation.

Additionally, Devendra Fadnavis embarked on an official tour to Japan, aiming to strengthen bilateral cooperation and business relations between Maharashtra and Japan. Meetings with key dignitaries and representatives from government organizations and top companies highlighted the potential for foreign investment in critical projects such as the Mumbai Flood Mitigation Project and Versova-Virar Sea Link. His efforts exemplify his commitment to fostering international collaboration and advancing Maharashtra’s development agenda on the global stage.

Life Beyond Politics

Beyond his political identity, Devendra Fadnavis is deeply committed to his family comprising his wife, Amruta, and daughter, Divija. His marriage to Amruta, a banker, actress, singer and social activist, underscores a partnership grounded in mutual respect and shared values, reflecting their collective commitment to societal welfare. The presence of their daughter further enriches their lives, symbolizing the hope and future they strive to improve through their public and private endeavours. Fadnavis’s ability to balance the demands of his political career with his family responsibilities showcases his dedication not just to the public but also to the personal realms of love, commitment, and family well-being.

The fact remains that his tenure is marked by transformative developmental initiatives, a pioneering push towards digital governance, and inclusive social policies aimed at uplifting the marginalized. Devendra Fadnavis’s strategic focus on leveraging technology to streamline governance processes, coupled with his efforts to bolster infrastructure, exemplifies his approach to fostering a progressive, connected, and economically vibrant Maharashtra. Despite facing controversies, his resilience and unwavering dedication to the state’s development have solidified his reputation as a reformist leader with a clear vision for Maharashtra’s future.

 

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