India, Oct. 8 -- In April 2013, a year ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) named Devendra Fadnavis, 43, a three-term legislator from Nagpur, the chief of the party's Maharashtra unit. He was a compromise candidate; the family and supporters of the late Gopinath Munde and the camp of former BJP president (he had resigned earlier that year from the post) Nitin Gadkari were jockeying for control and Fadnavis was acceptable to both.

At the time, no one thought that a year-and-half later, he would be picked as chief minister of India's richest state, which also sends the most number of representatives to the Lok Sabha (48) after Uttar Pradesh.

Five years on, as the BJP seeks a second term in power in the state whic...