Updated: April 6, 2021 1:23:35 am
Dilip Walse Patil, who was named the new Home Minister of Maharashtra after the resignation of Anil Deshmukh, is one of NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s most trusted lieutenants.
The 64-year-old Walse Patil, son of late Congress MLA Dattatray Walse Patil, chose an unconventional route to a political career. After completing his law studies with a postgraduate degree at Mumbai’s Government Law College, Patil kept away from electoral politics and instead chose to work as Pawar’s personal secretary, likely on the advice of his father.
In this role, Walse Patil cultivated a backroom persona with a silent presence, with the Maratha strongman as his mentor.
As he takes charge of the important Home portfolio, his reputation as a trouble shooter will be called on to fix the broken Mumbai and state police force, and the discredited department.
After years of working with Pawar, Walse Patil finally contested elections in 1990 from Ambegaon Assembly seat in Pune district, and won the seat. Since then, the sixth-term MLA has retained the constituency without a break.
In previous NCP governments, he has been entrusted with finance, energy and medical and higher education portfolios.
In 1999, when Pawar parted ways with the Congress to form the NCP, Walse Patil was in the core team and part of all the decision-making and its execution.
The big setback to his political career came between 2009 to 2014 when the party high command decided to make him Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly instead of cabinet minister. The decision was a shock to many, as the Speaker is often seen as a retired politician.
But Walse Patil accepted the job and earned the tag of “strict headmaster”. He focused on maintaining the decorum of the legislature and encouraged first-term members to participate actively by giving them opportunities on the floor of the House.
In 2019, after the Maha Vikas Aghadi was being formed, he was given the excise and labour departments. He was till recently the president of the National Federation of Cooperatives Sugar Factories Ltd.
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