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Shri Y. B. Chavan as Chief Minister

R. K. KARANJIYA

Editor, Blitz Weekly, Bombay

To BE asked to write about Yeshwantrao Chavan, Chief Minister of Maharashtra, is a
privilege. As a journalist as well as a citizen, it has been my job to watch his career dur­ing the last five years. The most difficult period of his life providing a crucial test of his leadership came soon after his assumption of the Chief Minister ship of the old bi-lingual Bombay State, when his mind must have been sorely confused and confounded between his loyalty to the Con­gress Party and his convictions on the side of Samyukta Maharashtra. The patience, confidence and courage with which he met this challenge to resolve a major personal no less than national crisis provides its own tribute to his statesmanship and diplomacy.

It was a fascinating study for me to watch Chavan transform this most dangerous period of his political career into his finest. He then braved the wrath of the majority of Marathi speaking people and today he is the idol and trusted leader of the same majority. Is this not a miracle ? The man who can work it shall always attract a journalist's attention. He must be possessing some extraordinary resilience along with innate sympathy with the people who, after all, have the last word in any form of democracy, not to mention the courage and capacity involved.

Chavan a Socialist

What characterises him in my opinion and what has endeared him to Jawaharlal Nehru as well as to the common people, is his ability to place the nation above all smaller or narrower loyalties and his down-to-earth realism.

He is young and he is a socialist. His socialism is not the copybook variety. His is the people's socialism. No Marxian maxims or redtape clog his thinking. He has the fortitude to adopt Marx­ism to Indian conditions and, therefore, he is able to blaze the trail not only to the academic socia­lists but also to the veteran Congress leaders who have accepted but not adapted themselves to socialism.

He knows his mind as very few of his colleagues in Congress do. When a BLITZ-team interviewed him for our Independence Number, I put a straight question to him "Are you a Socialist ?" Forth­right came the answer. "I am." No quibbling, no hesitation, no equivocation, no attending condi­tions ! Asked to explain himself, he said his was a practical pragmatic socialism, not expressed in platitudes but in actual legislative and adminis­trative measures.

   

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