July 1, 2022 (New Delhi): Eknath Sambhaji Shinde, the 20th Chief Minister of Maharashtra, has emerged as a strong leader of Shiv Sena and has risen to the top post but has worked very hard in his life to reach here. Shinde, who was associated with the land, used to drive auto rickshaws to earn a living before starting his political career.
Shinde started his political innings as a worker in Shiv Sena and on the strength of his organizational skills and public support, he became one of the top leaders of Shiv Sena.
He joined Shiv Sena. Originally hailing from Satara district of western Maharashtra, Shinde made Thane district his jurisdiction.
Influenced by the party’s Hindutva ideology and the personality of Bal Thackeray, Shinde joined the Shiv Sena. He says that he is indebted to the Shiv Sena and its founder, the late Bal Thackeray, for his progress in Maharashtra politics. After joining Shiv Sena, he got mentorship from party’s strong leader Anand Dighe. After Dighe’s sudden death in 2001, he strengthened the party in the Thane-Palghar region.
Shinde, the MLA from Thane city’s Kopri-Pachpakhadi seat, is known to indulge in politics by taking to the streets and has dozens of cases registered against him on various charges, including intentional hurt with weapons and rioting.
Shinde was elected councilor in the Thane Municipal Corporation in 1997 and after that he became an MLA for the first time by winning the 2004 assembly elections. In 2005, he was made the Thane district chief of Shiv Sena. Shinde’s stature can be gauged from the fact that he is seen as the second most prominent leader in the party.
Shinde’s son Dr. Shrikant Shinde is a Lok Sabha member from Kalyan seat. Shinde was also appointed Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for a brief period in 2014. Later Shiv Sena joined the BJP led government. Shinde has close ties with BJP leader and former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Shinde-controlled Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation set up health centers in Mumbai and its suburbs to treat coronavirus patients, despite the NCP having a health ministry.
Shinde was made the guardian minister of the Naxal-affected Gadchiroli district (along with Thane). It was believed that this was done to humiliate them.
Shinde, however, remained a prominent Shiv Sena leader, as he had developed a strong support base of his own. He is known to be always available to party workers and associates, and often visits the homes of ordinary party workers. After taking most of the Shiv Sena MLAs with him and becoming the chief minister, Shinde’s next challenge will be to take over the reins of the party organization from Uddhav Thackeray and his loyalists.
By line: Divya Thearia