Mumbai: Ashok Chavan, who was sworn in as Maharashtra chief minister on Saturday, faces a sterner test of his leadership and managing skills through the choppy waters of coalition politics after just over 10 months at the helm of affairs in the state in the previous stint.
Chavan’s non-controversial image may have landed him the top job after Vilasrao Deshmukh made way in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks, but his real test would lie in managing the coalition which took 15 days of hard bargaining between Congress and NCP over portfolios and the number of ministeries.
The excellent equations 51-year-old Chavan enjoys with Congress command, specially with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, also helped in no small measure in warding off potential challenges from more seasoned aspirants Vilasrao Deshmukh and Narayan Rane, both former chief ministers.
The selection of Chavan also underlines the importance of political inheritance in Congress. He inherited the political legacy of his late father SB Chavan, becoming the first father-son duo in the state’s history to adorn the chief ministerial chair. The senior Chavan was a loyalist of the Nehru-Gandhi family.