From Auto-Rickshaw Puller to CM Maharashtra
Eknath Shinde suffered from depression for several months as two of his sons drowned when a boat they were traveling in capsized in 2000. He received emotional support, and was entrusted with increased responsibility in order to keep his mind occupied, and away from depression.
Shinde, who once drove an auto on the roads of Thane in Maharashtra, is now the 20th Chief minister of the state.
Born in Jawali taluka of Satara in Maharashtra in 1964, Shinde’s family migrated to the neighboring Thane city, in order to make a living. He belongs to the Maratha community.
Eknath attended the Mangala High School and Junior College in Thane till the 11th grade. He used to work as an auto-rickshaw driver to support his family.
Shinde joined Shiv Sena in the 1980s, after coming in contact with Shiv Sena supremo late Balasaheb Thackeray and Shiv Sena’s Thane district chief, late Anand Dighe.
He made his mark as a prominent leader of Shiv Sena in Thane-Palghar region in a very short time. He was known for aggressively raising public issues.
In 1997, Eknath was elected as a Councilor for Thane Municipal Corporation for the first time. In 2001, he became the Leader of House in Thane Municipal Corporation and was elected to the Thane Municipal Corporation for the second time in 2002.
He won the Maharashtra Assembly elections for the first time in 2004 from the Kopri-Pachpakhadi constituency of Thane and since then, has remained an MLA for four consecutive terms.
Shiv Sena appointed him as the head of Thane district in 2005. He became the first MLA in the party to be appointed to such a coveted position.
After becoming a Minister in BJP-Shiv Sena government in 2014, Shinde resumed his studies and graduated from Yashwantrao Chavan Open University, Maharashtra.
Eknath was appointed as the Leader of the Sena’s Legislature Party after 2014 victory, and then as the Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, before joining the Devendra Fadanvis-led state government.
Shinde was made the cabinet minister for Urban Development and Public Works (Public Undertakings) in the MVA government led by Uddhav Thackeray in 2019 and was currently the Minister of Urban Affairs. He also served as the Thane District Guardian Minister from 2014 to 2019.
Shinde is the current Member of the Legislative Assembly from Thane’s Kopri-Pachpakhadi constituency. He was elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly four times in a row, in 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019. He was appointed as Shiv Sena Party Leader in 2018.
Shinde’s sons Dipesh (11), and Shubhada (7) went boating in a lake near their native village in Maharashtra on June 2, 2000. The boat capsized and both the children drowned.