Clerk to policeman to home minister, humble, tenacious and always smiling
- Former Ranji player held, Sreesanth and others to be produced in court today
- Li Keqiang pitches for more Chinese investments as he backs trade balance
- All eyes on Narendra Modi as BJP set to discuss strategy for Lok Sabha polls
- SC agrees to hear PIL to stay IPL matches due to spot-fixing
- Monstrous tornado rips through US city of Oklahoma, 90 dead
Those close to the Dalit leader, 71, seven-time MLA and former Maharashtra chief minister, three-time parliamentarian and now Union home minister, say he owes his tenacity to his humble beginnings as a court clerk and then as a police sub-inspector before joining politics four decades ago.
"It's his humility that has brought him this far," says Maharashtra MLC Subhash Chavan, a close aide of Shinde since 1974 and his former political secretary. "He was a chaprasi himself, so he does not hesitate to listen intently to a peon's words even today." Power and wealth brought Shinde no nasha, adds Chavan, who visited him in Delhi on Wednesday.
Shinde willingly became the Congress's vice-presidential candidate in 2002 against Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, though it was obvious he would lose. And he never grumbled when the leadership moved him around — from Maharashtra chief minister to Andhra Pradesh governor in 2004 — when the high command preferred Vilasrao Deshmukh as chief minister right after Shinde had led the Congress-NCP to victory — and then to Union minister
As a CID sub-inspector, he had given political intelligence inputs to the government. He joined politics in the early 1970s, with Sharad Pawar mentoring him first in the state and then at the Centre. Shinde broke away from Pawar in the 1980s after briefly aligning with a splinter group. With his growing stature as a backward classes leader, Shinde decided to return to the Congress fold under Indira Gandhi, and has remained a loyalist of the family since.
In the late 1990s, he was made Sonia Gandhi's election agent when she contested her first election from Amethi. He got closer to the family, playing key roles in its campaigns in Amethi and Rae Bareli.
In Maharashtra, he has been minister of finance, planning, urban development, industries and transport. He presented nine consecutive budgets as finance minister, a record in the state. He also did two stints as president of the Maharashtra Congress, once in 1990 and then in 1996.
The land where the Adarsh building stands was allotted when he was chief minister. But whether it was his deposition before the Adarsh judicial commission, or wife Ujjwala's defeat in an election when he was CM, he has always bounced back, stronger and forever smiling.
Born into the same caste as Babu Jagjivan Ram, Shinde chose not to contest from reserved seats several times. He has frequently stressed he was the only Dalit to contest and win a general Lok Sabha seat (Solapur) until it was reserved in 2009.
In 2003, he gave up his Lok Sabha seat when he was appointed chief minister, with the Congress then going on to lose that by-election by an embarrassing margin. He suffered another setback when his wife lost the 2004 Lok Sabha poll from Solapur, but bounced back with a resounding win for the Congress-NCP in 2004. He won Solapur back in 2009, and also successfully fielded youngest daughter Praniti in the Assembly elections later that year.
As power minister, a portfolio he headed until Tuesday, Shinde has faced some criticism as an "underachiever", particularly after the massive outages in his last two days in charge. As home minister, he might be more at ease handling subjects related to Centre-state relations, such as NCTC, but his performance will likely be assessed based on how he addresses Telangana, Naxalism, Kashmir and terrorism.
The author of a Marathi book titled Vichar Ved, Shinde appreciates art, folk art and Marathi literature. He loves old Hindi and Marathi film songs and is an avid reader. "He's the same person at work and at home — doesn't get angry, always smiling, very patient and super hardworking," says daughter Praniti.
- 'Sophisticated' Indian cyberattacks targeted Pak military sites: Report
- Talkative Li quoted Weber, Hegel, Jobs, said PM is large-hearted
- Bihar food corp ends up with chaff as rice worth Rs 535 cr vanishes from mills
- In 7 lucrative minutes on May 9, Sreesanth bowled 6 balls, bookie made Rs 2.5 cr
- India and China ask border envoys to work on more steps
- Former Ranji player among 3 more held