Yashwantrao Chavan became the first Chief Minister of Maharashtra. His tenure lasted from 1st May 1960 to 19th November 1962. He had participated in the freedom struggle. Free education, establishment of Universities for higher education, preparatory school for the defense forces, development of Adivasis, development of cooperative movement, establishing of eighteen sugar factories in cooperative sector, transfer of land holdings to the tiller, irrigation and industry, hydro electric power project at Koyna, establishment of village level governance, establishment of a council for the development of Marathi Literature and Culture, council for creation of Marathi encyclopaedia etc. are some of the special features of his tenure. In 1962 after the Chinese aggression, he was incorporated into the central cabinet as the Defence Minister.
Marotrao Kannamwar became the chief minister of Maharashtra for the period 10th November 1962 to 24th November 1963. He started the National Defence Fund and the Kapus Ekadhikar Yojana, an umbrella scheme for cotton. He died while in office so the charge was taken over by P. K. Sawant as a caretaker Chief Minister for the period 25th November 1963 to 4th November 1963.
Vasantrao Naik followed him as a Chief Minister of Maharashtra and occupied the post from 5th December 1963 to 20th February 1975. Some of the important features of his tenure were: purchase of crops like cotton, jowar, rice etc. by the government, sanctioning loans to farmers to buy cattle, rural employment guarantee scheme, poverty eradication scheme, founding of agricultural universities, establishment of open prisons, government lottery and making Marathi the official State language.
Shankarrao Chavan became the Chief Minister of Maharashtra for the period of 21st February 1975 to 16th April 1977. Outstanding features of his tenure were: Jayakwadi project, irrigation canals, zero based budget, family planning and family welfare, formulation of guidelines for various committees, establishing Marathwada Rural Bank, laying of broad gauge railways, training of the members of legislative assembly, implementation of Jawahar Employment Scheme. Shankarrao Chavan became the Chief Minister of Maharashtra once again in 1986 for two years.
Vasantdada Patil who followed Chavan as a Chief Minister of Maharashtra , became the Chief Minister of Maharashtra for four times. He was the Chief Minister of Maharashtra in the years 1977 – 78 and 1983-85. He made an important contribution to the development of the cooperative movement, sugar factories and establishment of non - aided educational institutes.
Sharad Pawar, who followed Patil as a Chief Minister also became the Chief Minister of Maharashtra four times. (in the years 78-80, 88-90, 90-91, 93-95). Sharad Pawar made effective changes in the Kapus Ekadhikar Yojana, encouraged orchard plantations, encouraged use of new agricultural techniques, agricultural exports, industrial development, provided reservation to women in elections, carried out excellent rehabilitation work after the earth quake.
There was a president’s rule in Maharashtra from 17th February 1980 to 8th June 1980.
Barrister A.R. Antule became the Chief Minister of Maharashtra on 9th June 1980. He was a Chief Minister of Maharashtra till 20th January1982. He is famous for the fast track decisions he took, waiving the loans to the farmers, increasing the pension scale, creating new districts and carrying out public construction works.
From 21st January 1982 to 1st February 1983 Babasaheb Bhosale was the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. He carried out several welfare schemes for poor families, gave insurance coverage to the fishermen, reduced the salaries of the ministers, increased the pension to the freedom fighters, started the Amaravati University, helped the Marathi film industry, and started the Aurangabad bench of High Court.
After him Vasantdada Patil became the Chief Minister and then Shivajirao Nilangekar became the Chief Minister for the period 3rd June 1985 to 13th March 1986. Important features of Nilangekar’s tenure include development packages for Marathwada, Vidharbha and Konkan, insurance scheme for crops, electrification, taking the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation to the taluka level, distribution of free television sets, people’s courts, rewards to inter caste marriages, free education up to twelfth standard to the girls and establishment of separate environment protection cell.
Shankarrao Chavan then became the Chief Minister, followed by Sharad Pawar and then Sudhakarrao Naik (from 25th June 1991 to 5th March 1993) Sudhakarrao Naik brought about the division of the political party Shivsena and brought Chhagan Bhujbal into the Congress party. He also helped spread awareness about water conservation, established separate cell for women and children. During his tenure the biography of Mahatma Gandhi was published and marketed by the government.
Manohar Joshi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shivsena combine became the Chief Minister from 14th March 1995 to 31st March 1999. For the first time, a non-Congress government came to power in Maharashtra. The chief architects of this combine were Shiv Sena supremo Balasaheb Thackeray and Pramod Mahajan of BJP. Notable achievements of this government were: construction of flyovers in Mumbai, the Mumbai-Pune expressway, Commission for development of Krishna Valley, free housing schemes for the urban poor, Zunka-Bhakar (staple food of the poor) for one Rupee, ridding Maharashtra of water tankers (by establishing water distribution system), establishing sports academy, waiving travel fees for senior citizens, Matoshree old age homes.
Narayan Rane became the Chief Minister after Manohar Joshi (1st February 1999 to 17th October 1999) The government carried out the following schemes under Narayan Rane: Establishment of retirement age, Jeejamata insurance scheme for women, Baliraja insurance cover to farmers, establishing of residential schools for sugarcane farm labourers, cancelling of octroi and connecting all the districts through internet.
The Congress and Rashtravadi Congress united front came to power and Vilasrao Deshmukh became the Chief Minister for the period 18th October 1999 to 17th January 2003. The important steps taken by this government include curtailing unnecessary new recruitments, a help package of one thousand crores for the farmers, controlling expenses, RashtraSant Tukadoji Maharaj and Saint Gadagebaba Cleanliness Drive, introduction of English from first standard, appointment of Shikshan Sevak (temporary teachers), designing new course in Information Technology, establishing Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad Minority Development Corporation, improving social distribution system and establishment of residential schools.
Sushil Kumar Shinde became the Chief Minister for the period starting from 18th January 2003 to 31st October 2004. Some important decisions of this government include relief from water tanker supply, free supply of text books, provision of electric power, appointment of scheduled caste and scheduled tribes commission, reorganization of backward class commission, filling the backlog in appointment of reserved category candidates, appointment of Child Rights Cell.
Vilasrao Deshmukh was re-elected as a Chief Minister of Maharashtra on1st November 2004.
Around this time a new party, the Maharashtra NavaNirman Sena, was formed by youth leader Raj Thackeray to consolidate the position of Marathi speakers in Maharashtra. Agitations for wide spread use of Marathi language, jobs to local people, use of Marathi on hoardings, stopping influx of outsiders (especially from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh), agitation about employment in the Central Railways, these are some of the issues taken up by Maharashtra NavaNirman Sena of Raj Thackeray. Some of these issues are now being discussed at the national level.