Devendra Fadnavis completes three years as Chief Minister of Maharashtra today. On October 31, 2014, amidst a lot of enthusiasm and expectations, Fadnavis was sworn-in at a glittering function at Wankhede stadium in Mumbai in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and most other senior leaders of the BJP. Since that time, he has strengthened his political grip over the state and successfully countered the political challenges posed by the opposition parties as well as his alliance partners in Maharashtra. However, now, CM Fadnavis faces the toughest part of his tenure in the run-up to the next big polls in Maharashtra, amidst several new challenges such as bad economic situation and farm sector issues.
The positive side about Devendra Fadnavis’ three-year rule is that he has been able to maintain a steady growth for his party in various parts of Maharashtra. In 2017 municipal polls, the party captured municipal corporations such as Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad where it never had any majority earlier in history. This will always be marked as Fadnavis’ achievements. In the rural polls recently, the party has done better than earlier. So from New Delhi’s point of view, this BJP CM has performed well for the party in the past three years.
However, from the point of view of rural farmers in the smallest or farthest town of Maharashtra, much is yet to be achieved in the State and fulfilling the expectations of good governance from their point of view still remains a challenge. The setback that the economy received because of demonetisation has pushed the farm sector back majorly in the state. Problems of rural credit are now coupled with shortage of energy as the state faces over 4,000 MW of power shortfall. These problems are going to cause some worry for the BJP in next election season of 2019 unless solutions are found by that time.
The CM has been able to maintain a clean image for himself and most people in Maharashtra feel that he is an honest man who wants to do something. Initiatives taken such as Jalayukt Shivar campaign of water conservation have yielded some results and have created some positivity. However, issues of urban infrastructure not keeping pace with the demands and continued suicides of farmers, still haunt the State government. Next two years will be crucial for Fadnavis to work on these matters and emerge as a successful leader.