Who should be the Chief Minister of Maharashtra?

G.S. Vijay Kumar By G.S. Vijay Kumar, 27th Oct 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

Prakash Tandon, the first Indian Chairman of the then Hindustan Lever Limited, said that their parent company Unilever Plc identified Dr. Ashok Ganguly, then an executive in Hindustan Lever, and posted him in their UK office. They trained him and gave exposure to him in many areas and finally brought him back to India and appointed him to the Board of Hindustan Lever and eventually to take over as the Chairman of the company. That is how Unilever Plc used to plan careers for their managers.

Who should be the Chief Minister of Maharashtra?

Now that the results of the Assembly Elections for Maharashtra are declared and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerging as the single largest party in the state, the race for the Chief Minister’s position has begun. As per reports, Devendra Fadnavis the President of Maharashtra BJP, Vinod Tawde the leader of the opposition in the Legislative council, Eknath Khadse the leader of the opposition in the outgoing Legislative Assembly & Nitin Gadkari are the likely candidates. Additionally, Pankaja Munde the daughter of Late Gopinath Munde has also thrown in her towel for the Chief Ministership.
Nitin Gadkari, currently Minister for Transport & Rural Development in the Narendra Modi Government, was President of BJP from 2010 to 2013 and was also Minister for Public Works Department in the Maharashtra Cabinet during the Shiv Sena- BJP rule in the 1990’s. Eknath Khadse has served as the Finance Minister in that cabinet besides holding the position of the Leader of the Opposition in the state Legislative Assembly from 2009 - 14. Devendra Fadnavis, Vinod Tawde as well as Pankaja Munde do not have any ministerial experience as of now.
With this as the background, who should become the Chief Minister of Maharashtra?
It may be a good idea to take a cue from the corporate world. What do they do for succession planning? How do they identify and manage succession planning? Once, the legendary Prakash Tandon, the first Indian Chairman and Chief Executive of the then Hindustan Lever Limited, said that their parent company Unilever Plc identified Dr. Ashok Ganguly, then an executive in Hindustan Lever, and posted him in their UK office. They trained him and gave exposure to him in many areas and finally brought him back to India and appointed him to the Board of Hindustan Lever and eventually to take over as the Chairman of the company. That is how Unilever Plc used to plan careers for their managers. That was how succession planning was carried out in Unilever those days. Incidentally, that very same Ashok Ganguly is a distinguished member of our Rajya Sabha now.
Many successful companies follow a similar pattern when it comes to succession planning. As a rule, it is not a good idea to directly plant a fresher or a less experienced person to a top job. Ideally, candidates should be identified for various senior roles and they need to be trained and nurtured to assume higher responsibilities. This is true of industries, sports or any other body including government.
Maharashtra BJP too had trained, nurtured and invested in Gopinath Munde to assume higher responsibilities including that of the Chief Minister. He would have been the undisputed leader of the party had he been alive. But his untimely demise created a vacuum in the party and hence the question as to who should be the Chief Minister of the state?
Additionally, at a time when the party does not have a majority of its own and has to take support of other parties to form the government, the Chief Ministerial candidate has to be a seasoned player with tact and maturity to handle various situations.
Although Devendra Fadnavis & Vinod Tawde are young and may have the potential to assume higher responsibilities, they lack experience in governance. Pankaja Munde is rather raw and she too doesn’t have any experience in governance.
In this scenario, it may be prudent to appoint a person of the calibre of Nitin Gadkari as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Nitin Gadkari has the stature, experience in governance and is also a senior leader. He may be easily acceptable to all the other factions of the party too. Although reports indicate that Gadkari is not very keen to return to state politics, it is worth making an effort to bring him to the state for a few years if not for longer.
With Nitin Gadkari at the helm, Maharashtra is likely to have a smoother run with better control. Devendra Fadnavis, Vinod Tawde, Pankaja Munde as well as other candidates with potential may be groomed under Nitin Gadkari. They may be given independent ministries to handle and then see as to how they measure up to those responsibilities. If things work out well as per expectations, one or two of these candidates may be elevated as Deputy Chief Ministers and given additional responsibilities. Subsequently, depending on their performance, the better of the two candidates could be made the Chief Minister of the state and Nitin Gadkari could head to Delhi.
This way, the ministry formation, administration as well as governance is not likely to suffer and the state of Maharashtra and its citizens shall be ensured of a good government.

G S Vijay Kumar is a senior corporate executive and a columnist.

Tags

Ashok Ganguly, Assembly Elections, Bjp, Chief Minister Of Maharashtra, Devendra Phadnavis, Eknath Khadse, Elections 2014, Hindustan Lever, Hindustan Unilever, Maharashtra Elections, Nitin Gadkari, Pankaja Munde, Prakash Tandon, Vinod Tawde

Meet the author

author avatar G.S. Vijay Kumar
I am a management graduate and have worked as a senior executive for 25 years in the corporate sector.I am a columnist and write on management, Economics and socio-economic topics.

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