Devendra Fadnavis
Devendra FadnavisIANS

When 44-year-old Devendra Fadnavis is sworn in as the new chief minister of Mahrashtra on Friday, he will be making history for his party, by becoming the first leader from the Bharatiya Janata Party to take the highest office in the state.

He will also be the second youngest chief minister of Maharashtra, second only to NCP's Sharad Pawar who took charge at the age of 38 in 1978. Fadnavis will also be the second Brahmin chief minister after Manohar Joshi.

Hailed for 'Clean Image', But Faces 22 Riot Charges

Since the time of campaigning for the Assembly elections, Fadnavis' name stayed above the clamour for the chief minister's chair, and he reportedly enjoyed the party's backing thanks to his 'clean' image and his age.

However, Fadnavis reportedly faces nearly two dozen charges of rioting, as per a report by The National Election Watch.

He has 22 cases of rioting charges dating back to 1993, including serious charges related to 'rioting, being armed with deadly weapon, and voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons'.

Some of the other charges against him include illegal payment in connection with an election, and abetment of assault. 

Political Career

Fandavis comes from a Nagpur-based family with a strong political lineage. His father Gangadhar Rao, was a prominent RSS leader who later became a Jan Sangh member in the state legislative council. His aunt Shobha Fadnavis, was also a former minister who represented the Mul constituency.

Fadnavis' motto on his website reads –

Politics for me is an instrument to bring socio-economic change in the lives of people".

Fadnavis started his political career at an early age, and had reportedly joined the RSS as a child, and then forayed into full-fledged politics by joining the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the BJP, after he lost his father at the age of 17.

At the age of 21, he became the youngest corporator in the Nagpur Munipal Corporation. He also has the distinction of being the youngest mayor of Nagpur in 1997 at the age of 27, and the second youngest in the entire country.

Fadnavis, then, went on to win his first assembly election in 1999 and became an MLA from Nagpur Southwest constituency. In the Maharashtra government, Fadnavis has had working experience in a range of committees, including the Estimates Committee, the Standing Committee on Urban Development and Housing, the Public Undertaking Committee, and the Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran (Water Supply).

Within the party itself, Fadnavis climbed the ranks steadily, starting off as a ward convenor, to becoming the national vice-president for the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, and was then being given the responsibility of the general secretary of the BJP Maharashtra Pradesh.

Last year in April, Fadnavis took charge of the BJP's reins in the state, replacing Sudhir Mungantiwar as the BJP state president.

Apart from Politics

He holds a Graduate Degree in Law from Nagpur University, a Post Graduate Degree in Business Management and a Diploma in Methods and Techniques of Project Management from DSE Berlin, as per the website.

He is an author, having extensively written on understanding the budget. He is also said to be a competent speaker, and his annual speech on the budget is reportedly an anticipated event in Nagpur.

"Even leaders such as Vilasrao Deskhmukh would stop by and congratulate him for his Assembly speeches," BJP member Atul Shah told The Economic Times.

The Fadnavis family includes his wife, Amruta, and a five-year-old daughter, Divija.