15 leaders have been Maharashtra chief minister in 50 years

By Quaid Najmi, IANS
Thursday, November 11, 2010

MUMBAI - Maharashtra, which enjoys a reputation of political stability, has had 15 chief ministers, including farmers, lawyers, teachers, a management graduate and now an aerospace engineer in Prithviraj Chavan, since the states formation May 1, 1960.

Only once in the past 50 years - for a five-month period between February and June 1980 - presidents rule was imposed in the state.

Technocrat-cum-aerospace engineer Chavan was sworn-in as the states 22nd chief minister here Thursday evening.

Of the 15 leaders who have served as chief ministers, some have had two stints and a few have occupied the coveted seat thrice on various occasions, according to official records. Late Y.B. Chavan was the first chief minister of Maharashtra from May 1, 1960, to Nov 19, 1962.

The state’s fourth chief minister Vasantrao Naik held the post for 12 years from Dec 5, 1963, to Feb 20, 1975, which remains the longest stint yet.

At the other extreme, the shortest stint as chief minister is credited to late P.K. alias Balasaheb Sawant who occupied the post for barely a fortnight - from Nov 24 to Dec 5, 1963.

Only four leaders have been sworn-in as chief minister more than once. These include the outgoing chief minister Ashok Chavan, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sharad Pawar.

Vasantdada Patil and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Pawar are the only two leaders sworn-in as chief ministers on four occasions.

Patil served from May 17, 1977-March 5, 1978; March 5, 1978-July 18, 1978; Feb 2, 1983-March 9, 1985; and March 10, 1985-June 1, 1985.

Pawar, considered Patil’s “political successor”, served from July 18, 1978-Feb 17, 1980; June 26, 1988-March 4, 1990; March 4, 1990-June 25, 1991 and March 9, 1993-March 13, 1995.

Three individuals held the post twice on different occasions. The late S.B. Chavan first ruled from Feb 21, 1975-May 17, 1977 and from March 12, 1986-June 26, 1988.

Deshmukhs first tenure was from Oct 18, 1999-Jan 16, 2003, and the second from Nov 1, 2004-Dec 4, 2008.

Ashok Chavan also held the post twice, first, from Dec 8, 2008 til the completion of the state legislative assembly polls end-October 2009. His second stint as chief minister started Nov 7, 2009 and ended Nov 10, 2010, when he resigned over the Mumbai’s Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society controversy.

The deputy chief ministers post was created out of political compulsions as the traditional single party rule gave way to an era of coalition politics. The post has been occupied by seven leaders, including the outgoing Chhagan Bhujbal, who occupied it twice.

The first deputy chief minister of Maharashtra was the late Nasikrao K. Tirpude March 5, 1978-July 18, 1978.

Ramrao Adik was the deputy chief minister from Feb 2, 1983, to March 5, 1985.

The Bharatiya Janata Partys (BJP) Gopinath Munde occupied the post from March 14, 1995, to Oct 11, 1999, during the rule of saffron combine of the Shiv Sena and the BJP.

The next deputy chief minister was the NCP’s Chhagan Bhujbal who served from Oct 18, 1999, to Dec 23, 2003.

He was followed by the same partys Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil Dec 27, 2003-Oct 19, 2004. He made way for Raosaheb Ramrao (R.R. alias Abasaheb) Patil (Nov 1, 2004-Dec 1, 2008), who took moral responsibility for the Nov 26, 2008, Mumbai terror attack and resigned.

Bhujbal replaced Patil and served the state till Nov 10, 2010. On Thursday, NCP strongman Ajit Pawar replaced Bhujbal and became the state’s new deputy chief minister.

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