New Delhi, Aug 1 (ANI): Sushil Kumar Shinde on Wednesday thanked Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi for showing trust in making him, a Dalit, the country’s Home Minister.
As an active participant in the nation’s politics, he won Maharashtra state assembly elections in 1978, 1980, 1985 and 1990.
He was a member of the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra between July 1992 and March 1998.
He acted as Sonia Gandhi’s campaign manager in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh in 1999.
He, however, said he would perform his duties both as a Dalit and as a citizen of the country.
Shinde is the second leader from the Dalit community to be appointed India’s Home Minister, the first being Buta Singh under former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
He had earlier held charge of the power ministry. He said he was of the view that the Gandhi family never forgets Dalits, Adivasis, Minorities or Backward Classes.
“I am in politics for the last 40 years. People from the Dalit community do not generally get the charge of the Home Ministry. But for the first time, Rajiv Gandhi had given a Dalit ( Buta Singh) the charge of Home Ministry, and now for the second time, it is under Sonia Gandhi’s leadership, that Dr. Manmohan Singh has given me this post,” said Shinde.
“It has always been the theory of the Congress to bring forward those people, who are suppressed. And, the faith with which I have been given this responsibility, I would not only work as a Dalit, but as a citizen of this country. I would definitely give the result,” he added.
Shinde was born into a Dalit family in Solapur on September 4, 1941. He was appointed the country’s new Home Minister on Tuesday, replacing P. Chidambaram, who has moved to the Finance Ministry.
Encouraged by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar , Shinde quit his police sub-inspector’s job to enter politics in 1971. He contested an assembly by-election from Karmala. In November that year, the late V P Naik, then Maharashtra’s chief minister, made Shinde a junior minister in his government.
He became the finance minister in the Vasantrao Patil government.
In 2002, he contested the election for the post of Vice President of India against the National Democratic Alliance’s candidate, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, and lost.
On October 30, 2004, he was appointed the Governor of Andhra Pradesh. He replaced Surjit Singh Barnala, who became the Governor of Tamil Nadu.
Shinde was elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha for second time from Maharashtra on March 20, 2006. (ANI)