Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprise (May 2019 – Present): Arvind Sawant
Date of Birth: He was born as Arvind Ganpat Sawant on December 31, 1951.
Place of Birth: Kumbhavade, Distt. Sindhudurg (Maharashtra)
Parents: The name of his mother is Aashalata Sawant and his father is Ganpat Pandurang Sawant. He comes from a middle-class family.
Spouse: He is married to Anuya Sawant.
Political Party: Sawant is a member of the Shiv Sena.
Education: He completed his BSc (Bachelor of Science) degree from the Bhavan’s College in Andheri, Mumbai.
Career: Before he became a politician, he worked as an engineer for Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, a state-owned enterprise that also happens to be the biggest provider of landline connections in prominent cities such as Mumbai and Delhi. It was in 1968 that he started his career in politics with Shiv Sena. He worked as a ‘gat pramukh’ at that time. This happened to be the lowest rank in the hierarchy of the party. At that time, he worked primarily as a polling agent.
Apart from that, Sawant also took part in the various protests that the party organized. As a member of Sthaniya Lokadhikar Samiti, he worked for an organization that asked for jobs for the local people. In 1995, he voluntarily retired from his job and became a member of the Shiv Sena. A year later, he was elected to the legislative council of Maharashtra. In this council, he brought up some pertinent issues such as the development of the slums of the city. He also asked for prominence to be granted to Marathi. Sawant also lobbied for housing facilities for people who worked in the mills. Gradually, he became known as a good orator and a champion of the working class.
Political Milestones: Sawant was able to get elected twice to the state council. However, in his third attempt at election, he came away unsuccessful. This happened because the party did not have enough numbers for the Mumbai Municipal Corporation. In 2010, he rose to become the official spokesperson of Shiv Sena as well as the deputy leader of the party. When he was the spokesperson of the party, Shiv Sena faced considerable criticism for the policies it had adopted with respect to the people who were migrating to Mumbai.
As a spokesperson, one of the main jobs that Sawant had to perform thus was to defend his party from such criticism. It was in 2014 that Shiv Sena announced that he would be contesting the general elections from the Mumbai South constituency. He went up against Milind Deora, a candidate who had been fielded by the Indian National Congress party. As such, he was regarded as a weak candidate in comparison to him. Sawant however turned the tables on Deora by a margin of 1.2 lakh votes. He also boasts of an attendance of more than 98% in the Lok Sabha.
From May 16, 2014, he has been a Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) from the Mumbai-South constituency. On May 30, 2019, he took charge as the Union Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.