Recently, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis celebrated his 46th birthday along with his followers. We have seen their enthusiasm from all over Maharashtra. Like previous year, the CM had appealed his admirers (read Fans) ‘not to waste money’ on hoarding and banners and instead donate the entire amount to “Jalyukta Shivar Yojana” which is one of his dream projects. Through this project government is trying to resolve the agrarian crisis faced by the state. Coincidently, the former Deputy Chief Minister from erstwhile state government, Ajit Pawar’s birthday also falls on the same date, i.e. on 22nd of July. Although, junior Pawar belongs to Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) — ideologically different party from BJP –both the young and dynamic leaders have their own followers and are popular among masses. However, their styles of functioning are poles apart. Ajit Pawar is aggressive by nature whereas CM Fadnavis is calm, as described by their opponents.
This coincidence is not the only one in the history of Maharashtra politics. Former CM and Ajit Pawar’s uncle Sharad Pawar (NCP) and former Dy.CM of Maharashtra Gopinath Munde’s birthday also fall on the same date, i.e. 12th of December. Coincidentally, they both were cabinet minister at the centre also. Senior Pawar as well as Late Munde (saheb) both are mass leaders and were considered as grassroot leaders of this state. Even in this case also, the former is known for his patience while the latter is known for his aggressive approach. Surprisingly, the aggressive Ajit Pawar has learnt politics from his calmed Sharad Pawar while tolerant Devendra Fadnavis has taken lessons of politics under aggressive Gopinath Munde.
This reminds me of the tussle in the Congress leadership in the first and second decades of the 20th century, when the aggressive Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak locked horns with the poised Gopal Krishna Gokhale. The fact is Mahatma Gandhi who always hailed Gokhale as his political Guru, carried his patient ideology further and successfully led Congress till the Indian Independence.
Another such combination leadership in the history of Independence was observed in the 1930s. In the second generation of Congress leadership, when aggressive Subhash Chandra Bose, at his peak of popularity, became Congress president sidelining composed Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. However, Nehru led the party till 1964 after that.
The third opposite nature individuals we have seen in the 70s and 80s, when a young leader in the form of Sanjay Gandhi rose to indirectly lead Congress a few years prior to the emergency. The nation witnessed the dynamic and aggressive nature of Sanjay Gandhi, however ultimately it was his poised brother Rajiv Gandhi, who became the Prime Minister in 1984.
Even in my party also, if you see, then the veteran, calm and legend of modern politics Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee became Prime Minister of India while aggressive Lal Krishna Advani had to satisfy himself as a Deputy Prime Minister.
In Maharashtra as well, the legacy of Balasaheb Thackeray, the founder of a very aggressive party, Shiv Sena is successfully carried out by his calm son Uddhav Thackeray with 63 MLAs and 18 MPs in his arsenal, while the aggressive nephew is still trying to establish his party in his own home ground Mumbai for more than a decade now.
Although, it is impossible to predict the future of either Devendra Fadnavis or Ajit Pawar, the history shows that a patient leadership tastes the fruits of success while an aggressive leadership fails to appeal to the masses in the long run.
(The author is a spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Maharashtra unit)
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)