Published: 01st July 2022
#WhatTheFAQ: How Eknath Shinde went from being a former auto driver to CM of Maharashtra
A follower of Bal Thackery and a mentee of Anand Dighe, Shinde was a driver of an auto-rickshaw in his pre-politics life
A former auto-rickshaw rider toppled the Maharashtra coalition between Shiv Sena, NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) and Congress with planning and perfect execution. Wondering who we are talking about? You guessed it right, it is Eknath Shinde, the rebel leader who brought the BJP back into power after it lost the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly elections. It may be recalled that the 2014 elections are the same elections wherein the 25 years strong BJP-Shiv Sena alliance was broken.
With Eknath Shinde's strong inclination toward Hindutva ideology and being a staunch follower of Shiv Sena Founder Bal Thachery, Shinde has always been an active leader since the 1980s. Who is he? And how did he evolve into a rebel minister over the years? Let's get to know the new Chief Minister of Maharashtra and find out about some of the first moves he made in his political career.
Has Eknath Shinde always been with the Shiv Sena?
It was in the 1980s that the then Thane Shiv Sena President Anand Dighe inducted Eknath Shinde into politics. After Dighe's death in 2001, Shinde became his successor by being elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly.
After losing his two children in a boat mishap, Shinde was in deep depression. It was Dighe who gave him the responsibility to keep him distracted from his personal loss.
How did Shinde advance in his role?
Here is a timeline of the progress of Eknath Shinde in the field of politics, especially in the Maharastra coalition government.
1997 - Corporator to Thane Municipal Corporation for the first time
2001 - Leader of the House in Thane Municipal Corporation
2002 - Elected to Thane Municipal Corporation for the second time with a good majority
2004 - Elected to Maharastra Legislative Assembly for the first time
2005 - Given the post of Shiv Sena Thane District Head, the first MLA to be given this post
2009-2014 - Elected to Maharastra Legislative Assembly for the second and third time and became Leader of Opposition of the same assembly during October - December 2014
2019 - Elected to Maharastra Legislative Assembly for the fourth time
Appointed Minister of Urban Development and Public Works (Public Undertakings)
2019 - Appointed Minister of Home Affairs (Acting)
2020 - Appointed Guardian Minister of Thane district
2022 - Appointed as Chief Minister of Maharashtra
How did he execute the coup?
Eknath Shinde wanted to break the ice by forming an alliance with BJP due to the ideological differences he had with his own party, Congress and NCP. When he requested Uddhav Thackeray about breaking the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition, his requests were ignored.
Because of this, Shinde gathered two-thirds of the majority to gather support for his and planned it intelligently enough to execute it.
During the Maharastra Legislative Council polls for 10 seats of retiring members on June 20, Monday, BJP secured five seats leaving Shiva Sena and NCP with two seats each. On June 21, Uddhav Thackery called for an urgent meeting with all MLAs of Shiv Sena to avoid the split in MVA.
The mastermind Eknath Shinde skipped the urgent meeting and then a few sources said Shinde along with other MLAs were spotted in Surat on June 21. The number of MLAs increased as the group relocated to Guwahati, the next day, that is, June 22.
On June 25, the deputy speaker issued to the missing MLAs asking for answers about their absence from the meeting called by Shiv Sena. Meanwhile, on June 28, BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari and handed him a letter seeking a floor test in the state Assembly. And the rest as they say, is history.
Sources say that more than Fadnavis, Shinde was always clued in to what was happening while in talks with BJP.