Eknath Shinde was born on February 9, 1964, in Satara District, Maharashtra. He is an Indian politician and has been Chief Minister of the State of Maharashtra since June 30, 2022. He was previously the Cabinet Minister for Urban Development and Public Works (Public Undertakings) in the Government of Maharashtra. He is a member of the Legislative Assembly from the Kopri-Pachpakhadi assembly constituency in Thane, Maharashtra where his family relocated to in his childhood.
Eknath Shinde: 5 Facts About The Chief Minister of Maharashtra
1. Early life:
Shinde was born into a Maratha family in a village in the Western Ghats in the Taluk Jawali of Satara District. The family moved to the big city of Thane in search of work. In Thane, Shinde attended Mangala High School & Junior College and graduated in 11th grade in 1981.
For a time he worked in Thane as a rickshaw runner. He became politically active early on and joined the Shiv Sena, a regional party that advocated a rigorous Maratha nationalism combined with a Hindutva agenda.
2. Rising through Shiv Sena in 1997:
He formed a union for the party and quickly rose through the party ranks. In 1997 he was elected to the City Council of Thane Municipal Corporation for Shiv Sena. In 2001 he became the Shiv Sena party leader in Thane. In 2004 he was elected to the Maharashtra Regional Parliament in the 53-Thane constituency and has been elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for three more consecutive terms in 2009, 2014, and 2019.
In the following election in 2009 he won the constituency 147-Kopri-Pachpakhadi, which he was able to maintain in the elections of 2014 and 2019. In the coalition government between Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra from 2014 he was Minister for Public Works, Public Health and Family Welfare.
3. Eknath Shinde’s role in the 2022 crisis in Maharashtra:
In 2022, Shinde was a central figure in the political crisis unfolding in the Maharashtra government. Since 2019, a coalition government of Shiv Sena, the Congress Party and the Nationalist Congress Party has been in office in Maharashtra under Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena). This government, made up of ideologically extremely different and actually incompatible partners, came about primarily because the Congress party leadership wanted to prevent the BJP from participating in the government at all costs and because Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray was aiming for the post of Chief Minister.
However, the coalition was unpopular at the Shiv Sena party base from the start. The government crisis was triggered by a meeting of 33 Shiv Sena deputies (out of a total of 55) led by Eknath Shinde in a hotel in Surat (Gujarat) on June 21, 2022. The meeting was publicly described as a faction building within the Shiv Sena parliamentary faction in opposition to leader Uddhav Thackeray.
The parliamentary group continued its deliberations in Guwahati (Assam) in the following days, where other Shiv Sena MPs joined and it was here that Shinde stressed his adherence to Hindutva ideology, stating that “getting out of the unnatural front” (coalition) was “essential to the party’s survival”. Shinde removed all references to Shiv Sena from his Twitter account, prompting speculation as to whether he wanted to found his own party or switch to the BJP. According to press reports, Shinde also held talks with Devendra Fadnavis (BJP) and Interior Minister Amit Shah (BJP) in Vadodara (Gujarat).
4. Shinde was finally elected to Shiv Sena CM:
Apparently surprised and shocked by the developments, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray declared on June 22, 2022 his willingness to vacate the post of Chief Minister and also to resign as Shiv Sena party leader if his party so wishes. On June 28, 2022, Shinde was elected party leader by the party dissidents who supported him.
After the governor of Maharashtra called a vote of confidence in parliament to demonstrate that the Thackeray government had a parliamentary majority, Thackeray resigned on June 29, 2022.On June 30, 2022, Eknath Shinde was sworn in as Chief Minister at the head of a coalition government of BJP and Shiv Sena. Devendra Fadnavis became his deputy.
5. Personal tragedy:
In 2000, Shinde experienced personal tragedy when two of his children, aged 7 and 11, died in a boating accident.
6. Nonetheless, his son Shrikant has always been by his side:
Shinde has a son, Shrikant, with his wife Lata, who is an orthopedist by profession. The son is also politically active and was elected to the Lok Sabha for Shiv Sena in the 2014 and 2019 Indian general elections in the 24-Kalyan constituency.