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Six influential Maharashtra leaders find place in Narendra Modi cabinet

Tuesday, 27 May 2014 - 7:20am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Maharashtra, which contributed the second largest number of seats to the NDA's kitty (42) after Uttar Pradesh (73) secured six berths in the Narendra Modi-led Union council of ministers with Rajya Sabha MP Piyush Goyal representing the country's financial capital in the cabinet.

Others include Maharashtra BJP's strongman Gopinath Munde, whose chief ministerial ambitions are no secret; RSS swayamsewak and former BJP national president Nitin Gadkari, who notched up his maiden Lok Sabha victory from Nagpur; Shiv Sena leader Anant Geete who trounced NCP minister Sunil Tatkare from Raigad in a close fight; Raosaheb Danve Patil, a four-term MP from Jalna, Marathwada, who has an RSS background, and former Rajya Sabha MP and party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar.

Here's a profile of Maharashtra's leaders in the cabinet.

Piyush Goyal, 49
A good deal of the credit for the BJP's massive success could be attributed to him because he masterminded the party's social media and mass media campaign. As party treasurer, he also played a crucial role in raising funds. Highly educated (all-India second rank holder in CA exam and second rank in law in Mumbai University), he is liked by the corporate bigwigs of Mumbai. Piyush belongs to a family with strong roots in the RSS. His late father Vedprakash was national treasurer of the BJP and a Union minister in the erstwhile Vajpayee cabinet whereas his mother Chandrakanta was BJP MLA from Matunga.

Piyush has taken part in leadership programmes conducted at Yale (2011), Oxford (2012) and Princeton (2013) universities and is presently doing a management programme at Harvard Business School. He was on the board of directors of leading banks, including the State Bank of India and Bank of Baroda. A well-known investment banker, he has advised top corporates on management strategy and growth.

Gopinath Munde, 64
Elected from Beed, Munde is expected to lead the campaign of the Shiv Sena-BJP alliance in the forthcoming assembly elections. The BJP's deputy leader in the Lok Sabha even managed to get his aide Raosaheb Danve into the Modi cabinet.

Known for his tenacity, Munde is widely credited for his campaign against NCP chief Sharad Pawar and the Congress and for ensuring the saffron alliance's victory in the state. In 1995, he was deputy CM and home minister under CM Manohar Joshi.

The BJP managed to spread its base among OBCs in the state, shedding its upper caste image with able help from Munde which resulted in his stock rising in the party. Munde belongs to the Vanjari community, which has significant numbers in Marathwada and parts of Western Maharashtra, and this helped the party spread its base among his community and other OBCs.

His political career began with the ABVP in his college days and was later initiated into the RSS by the late Pramod Mahajan.

Munde was elected to the state legislative assembly five times and held the post of the leader of opposition in the Vidhan Sabha from 1992 to 1995. In 2009, he managed to retain his Lok Sabha seat despite the NCP pulling all stops to defeat him. He managed to stitch a five-party alliance, leading to the wipe out of the Congress-NCP in the state.

Nitin Gadkari, 56
Former BJP president Nitin Gadkari's stars are on the ascendancy again with his inclusion in the cabinet. After being denied a second term as BJP president after the Purti group controversy, Gadkari managed to resurrect himself following a clean chit by the income tax department and a successful election.

Gadkari, who hails from Nagpur - the headquarters of RSS – began his political career with the ABVP. He is widely credited for the roads and flyovers in the state when he was PWD minister in the Sena-BJP government. The former BJP president is expected to have a larger say nationally and in the state after getting a clean chit, forcing Congress leader Manish Tewari to apologise for making corruption allegations against him and sending Arvind Kejriwal to jail.

He was always criticised for not being a mass leader. But with his massive win from Nagpur, Gadkari has managed to announce his arrival as a mass politician. He runs a successful industrial enterprise and prides himself as an entrepreneur.

Anant Geete, 62
Few eyebrows were raised in the Shiv Sena when the party nominated the Raigad MP to be its sole representative to be sworn-in on Monday. Geete, a six-term MP who is close to the Thackeray family, has earned the reputation of being a giant killer of sorts after defeating water resources minister Sunil Tatkare (NCP) with a slender margin in what was seen as a lost battle for him.

In 2004, Geete, who hails from Ratnagiri and began his electoral career as a BMC corporator, trounced former CM and then Union minister AR Antulay. The resident of Andheri is a good orator in Marathi and Hindi. He made his Lok Sabha debut in 1996, defeating then Congress MP and local education baron Govindrao Nikam from Ratnagiri. In 2002, Geete, who enjoys a formidable base in Konkan's Kunbi community, became minister of state for finance for a few weeks and was later elevated as power minister in the AB Vajpayee government.

However, the low-profile and soft-spoken Geete is said to have engineered the defeat of then leader of opposition Ramdas Kadam from Guhagar constituency in 2009 against former Shiv Sainik Bhaskar Jadhav, who is now the state NCP chief. The Peasants and Workers Party, which has support in the Agri and Kolis in Raigad, and had supported Geete in 2009, snapped ties with the Sena and fielded former NCP MLA Ramesh Kadam, a Tatkare loyalist, from Raigad.

However, despite the fight being skewed in favour of Tatkare, Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray deployed party cadre and resources in the constituency to ensure that Geete was not defeated. Geete sailed through in a close contest.

Prakash Javadekar, 63
Despite being denied a Rajya Sabha seat recently, he managed to get himself into the Union cabinet. Pune-based Javadekar, who has never won a direct election, was member of the state legislative council from 1990 to 2002. He was first elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2008 and is credited with writing several books on economy and farmer issues. He also played a role in spreading the party in Western Maharashtra among the middle class.

Javadekar also began his political career with the ABVP. He took part in the agitation against emergency and was imprisoned for 16 months. He has been the BJP's state secretary and campaign chief of BJP, Maharashtra. Javadekar was appointed national spokesperson of the party in 2005 and has managed to do justice to his role.

Raosaheb Danve Patil, 59
Raosaheb Danve Patil's appointment does not come as a surprise as he is among the senior-most MPs of the BJP in the state and has been elected to the Lok Sabha four successive times. He has also been elected to the state legislative assembly twice. Danve Patil from Jalna has been representing a district which does not have a single BJP MLA. His family has been closely connected to the RSS; his father Dadarao Patil, who was member of the Jan Sangh, initiated him into politics. Danve Patil has risen from the grassroots and has played a crucial role in increasing the BJP's influence in the region. He belongs to the Maratha community and is an important leader in Marathwada.
 


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