From Auto Driver To Maharashtra CM: Who Is Eknath Shinde?

Born on February 9, 1964, Eknath Sambhaji Shinde belongs to Jawali taluka in Satara.

Eknath Shinde (PTI)
File Photo of Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde on Thursday (June 30) became the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra after a rebellion spearheaded by him led to the downfall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in the state. Shinde had on June 21 led a group of disgruntled Sena MLAs to Surat in Gujarat demanding that the party broke away from the MVA alliance with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress, and joined hands with old saffron ally BJP.

While Shinde had sought Sena’s support for former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, the BJP leader on Thursday sprung a surprise when he announced the rebel Sena leader as the Chief Minister.

A Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Kopri-Pachpakhadi constituency of Thane, Shinde was serving as the Cabinet Minister of Urban Development and Public Works in the MVA government that went down on June 29.

Who Is Eknath Shinde?

Born on February 9, 1964, Eknath Sambhaji Shinde belongs to Jawali taluka in Satara. Shinde had moved to Thane with his family in search of job and worked as an auto driver. In a tragic incident that left Shinde shocked for several years, he lost two of his children — a son and a daughter — who drowned in a lake in Satara.

He was initiated into politics by former Shiv Sena president Anand Dighe in the early 1980s. Shinde, who entered active politics as a Shiv Sena corporator, went on to become the leader of the house in Thane Municipal corporation. With time, Shinde became a Sena strongman in the region.

He styled himself in the image of Dighe, who was a mass leader. Shinde also grew his influence within the party and among the people. He even played a key role in keeping the Sena together in 2019, when the party broke away from BJP and joined hands with NCP and Congress.

Shinde has been elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for four consecutive terms — 2004, 2009, 2014, and 2019. His son, Shrikant Shinde, is Sena’s Member of Parliament from Kalyan. His brother Prakash Shinde is a councillor.

ALSO READ: Uddhav, Shiv Sena’s Inheritor And The Thackeray Name Face Uncertain Future