The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has once again fulfilled the heartfelt wish of Shiv Sena’s rebel Eknath Shinde, surprising everyone with its decision. On Thursday, BJP leader and former Chief Minister of the state Devendra Fadnavis announced the name of Eknath Shind for the Chief Minister in a press conference.
At the same time, he also said that he will stay out of this government, that is, he will not take any post. After his name was announced for the Chief Minister, Eknath Shinde said,”The step we have taken, no one has done it to get anything. It is everyone’s idea, Balasaheb Thackeray ji’s Hindutva and the development of the state.” So we were going ahead with this agenda.”
Shinde has been emphasizing on Balasaheb Thackeray and his Hindutva issue ever since he started his rebellion against Uddhav Thackeray. Even today, he told the media,”We are trying to take forward the role of our Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray ji in Hindutva.”
Actually Eknath Shinde is so vocal about Bal Thackeray and his Hindutva because he is a very old and senior leader of Shiv Sena. Shinde, who once drove an auto on the streets of Thane, achieved such a position in politics on his own that people started calling him ‘Thane ka Thackeray’.
Eknath Shinde has come a long and tumultuous political journey. It was the experience of years in politics, that he not only broke so many MLAs from under the nose of Uddhav Thackeray, but also brought him to the point that Uddhav had to resign.
Life of Eknath Shinde
Shinde had migrated to the city from Jawali taluka of Satara in his youth, before joining Shiv Sena. He first came into the limelight when he started the labor union for the party.
Shinde was first elected to the Thane Municipal Corporation in 1997. After this he also had to go through a family tragedy. When his two children Dipesh and Shubhada drowned in the village in front of his own eyes.
However, he gradually emerged from this misery with the help of his mentor Anand Dighe and became the leader of the army in the corporation in 2001. Shinde was soon assigned to party work in Thane, which helped him gain a grip on the area.
Shinde filled the void in the party after his mentor Anand Dighe died in a road accident in 2001. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly in 2004 and took control of the organization of the party.
When did Shiv Sena increase in stature?
Shinde consolidated the party’s ranks in Mumbai in 2005. When Narayan Rane’s men fought Shiv Sainiks after they went to Congress. This was the first time that Shiv Sena supporters had to face the challenge on the streets.
The party trusted Shinde. Shiv Sena’s dependence on Shinde increased when Raj Thackeray, nephew of Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, left the party and formed the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in 2006.
It is said that the Congress, which was in power at that time. He had also offered Shinde a ministerial post. But he had refused to leave Shiv Sena.
Closer to Devendra Fadnavis
Shinde helped his son Shrikant get elected to the Lok Sabha from Kalyan in 2014. Shrikant Shinde is an Orthopedic Surgeon. When Shiv Sena broke its 25- year-old alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and contested the assembly elections on its own , Shinde became the leader of the opposition.
When Shiv Sena joined the BJP-led government, he became the Minister of Public Works. Shinde’s tenure as a PWD minister is believed to have broughthim closer to former chief minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis.
When the MVA government came to power, Shinde was instrumental in bringing several MLAs into the coalition. It is believed that before Uddhav Thackeray became the Chief Minister, he wished that this government should be in his hands. Shinde, however, has been given the charge of the crucial urban development department.
Shinde became the biggesttroubleshooter for Shiv Sena
Given Uddhav Thackeray’s style of functioning and the dominance of ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Shinde emerged as the biggest troubleshooter for the party.
He is said to have the ability to work round the clock. He resumed his studies and managed to complete his BA from Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University. Shinde had also enrolled for a master’s programme.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Shinde was quite active on the ground. He was arranging medical aid and visiting hospitals. His team from Shiv Sena Medical Aid Unit had also helped a lot in getting beds and oxygen to the patients of Corona in the hospital.
Even though Eknath Shinde’s dream of becoming Chief Minister could not be fulfilled during the MVA alliance, but his closeness to Devendra Fadnavis came in handy this time and his dream also came true.
Expressing gratitude to Fadnavis, Shinde said,”By numbers, Fadnavis could have become the chief minister, but he showed a big heart and I thank him for that.”