Nityanand Pandey & Dharmendra Tiwari
Dr Shrikant Eknath Shinde was born on 4 February 1987. He is a member of the 16th Lok Sabha of India. After Dushyant Chautala and Shrikant Shinde is the fourth youngest MP in India. He was elected from Shiv Sena Party in 2014. He represents the Kalyan constituency of Maharashtra and is a member of the Shiv Sena political party. He is son of Eknath Shinde the Cabinet Minister of Public Works Department (MSRDC, Public Undertaking) in Government of Maharashtra. He is the modern face of Shiv Sena.
Please tell us about your childhood days and family backgrounds where you were born and bought up?
My childhood was like any other normal boy. My parents, especially my mother was very keen that I get proper education. She used to look after my studies. I was also interested in games. I also played cricket for my college team. My father was always busy in social work and politics but he was also very particular about my studies. Both my parents are very caring, but when it comes to study, they used to be very strict. I always wanted to be a doctor. I pursued my dream, did my MBBS and after I became MP, I appeared for my final year MS exams which I cleared and became Orthopedic Surgeon.
How do you feel about your fathers achievements so far as he was from a very humble background and grown to Cabinet minister level and today he is the Guardian minister of thane district?
As a son, I of course feel proud. I have seen his struggle. He has worked really hard. Since the beginning, he is a true shiv sainik. Shiv Sena Supremo Balasaheb Thackeray gave us the mantra : 80% social work and 20% politics. I think my father has been the epitome of this mantra as social work comes before politics for him. He has been serving people irrespective of caste, religion, language and party. Balasaheb and Dharmaveer Anand Dighe Saheb nurtured the leadership qualities in him and today, under the inspiring leadership of our party chief Hon. Uddhav Saheb, my father, as a cabinet minister is trying to bring about a change and I am really proud of that.
How did you start your journey into politics?
I was always keen observer of politics. Since my father is into politics, we always used to discuss various issues concerning the society. Like many youngsters, Shivsena Supremo Balasaheb Thackeray’s speeches left an enduring impression on me. And if you are living in Thane, you cannot escape the influence of Dharmaveer Anand Dighe Saheb. So I was always attracted to politics. I had seen Shivsena’s style of giving instant justice to people who are distressed from very close quarters and I always wanted to serve the society. During 2014 Parliament election, my party was looking for an educated candidate and a fresh face and when I was asked about contesting the election, I decided to take the plunge.
You are youngest MP in the country after Dushyant Chautala. What are challenges & benefits as a youngest MP you are facing in parliament?
Challenges and benefits are there in all walks of life. One cannot escape that. Challenges make person stronger. So I love challenges. The main challenge is to keep pace with all the happenings around you. Because of media explosion, so much information is coming to you every second. The challenge is to dissect the information and know what is of use to you and your people. Another challenge was to know the working of each ministry and of course the parliamentary procedure. However, this is faced by every first time MP or MLA and has got nothing to do with age. Benefit is that age is on my side. There is so much to learn. Every day is a new experience. You have to keep learning from your as well as other’s experiences. And with young age, you bring new ideas. There is no baggage of the past.
How do you feel when you sit in parliament at Age group which is above 60 years?
Our seniors are our guiding force. Therefore, I always feel very comfortable in their company. They have so much experience and wisdom which we can learn from. So I feel really blessed to be sitting with such stalwarts in the sacred temple of our democracy.
Tell me about your memory of final year exam and 2014 lok sabha election preparations altogether?
I appeared for my final year surgery exam immediately after I became MP. Therefore, preparation for both were going on simultaneously. Loksabha election was my entry into electoral politics. It was a new experience for me. The elections were held in the month of May, so one can imagine the kind of grinding we all went through in the scorching heat. But the efforts of all the shivsainiks and our leaders paid off. I was happy that I was able to retain the seat which is considered to be the stronghold of Shivsena. After the elections, I stayed at my hostel for one month for preparing for the exam. I barely slept during that one month.
Your constituency consists of Kalyan, Dombivali, Ulashanagar, & Ambarnath. What are the major issues of your constituency and how you are going to tackle those issues?
My constituency has the same set of issues that any evolving and rapidly urbanizing constituency would have anywhere in India. Solid waste disposal, 24 x 7 water supply and connectivity are the measure issues which I am trying solve ever since I became MP. Though large part of my constituency is blessed with sufficient water, there are some parts, especially 27 villages that were recently included in Kalyan-Dombivali Municipal Corporation, and villages in Shri Malang area. Water distribution network in 27 villages is old & weak and laying down of new network is underway after my persistent efforts. I am trying to implement Rashtriya Pey Jal Yojana in villages in Shri Malang area, which is a centrally sponsored scheme. In the interim, I have cleaned lakes and check dams in these villages, which were never cleaned in the last 25 years. Therefore, now these villages have water even in the month of May and farmers are taking two to three crops a year instead of only one crop earlier.
However, to resolve the water issue permanently, I have written to the Water Resource Minister and the Guardian Minister to build the dedicated dam for the Thane district.
Another important issue is that of connectivity. Though my constituency is well connected by rail and road network, there is no direct road connectivity to areas beyond Thane. Therefore, when rail services are affected due to any accident, technical breakdown or during monsoon, my constituency gets cut off, causing a lot of hardships to millions of people.
Therefore, I have suggested the hon. Chief Minister to establish a metro network in my Kalyan constituency. He has accepted my proposal, in principal, for Taloja-Dombivali-Kalyan Metro route which would connect a large part of MMR region to Thane, Mumbai and Navi Mumbai.
I am also pursuing to implement the Kalyan-Thane-Mumbai water way which has been approved by the central government after my persistent efforts. This would give a good and cost effective alternative for easy commute.
Also, the rail services are not commensurate with the growing population. The railway network is saturated and need to be upgraded. The work of 5th and 6th line is currently on. My aim for the next 2 years is to complete this work so that new train services can be added for the benefit of commuters.
You are a doctor as well as politician, how do you manage both of your profession?
I have chosen both the fields out of choice and not out of any compulsion. And when you love anything, are passionate about anything, you automatically learn and find ways to give enough time to it. I make it a point to go to the hospital I am attached to at least once a week and rest of my time is dedicated to my political activities. As a doctor, I am serving people and as a politician, I am doing that only.
What are your future plans for the improvement in transport /Health/infra etc in your constituency?
As I said earlier, Metro and waterways are two major initiatives that I have taken to improve the transportation. Also, Railways plan to lay 5th & 6th line between Thane and Kalyan is much delayed. I have been really after them to complete this project as early as possible so that services beyond Thane can be increased manifold.
As far as health is concerned, we have a good network of Municipal as well as private hospitals. Indeed, the PHCs need to be strengthened. The district hospital at Thane will soon be upgraded into a super specialty hospital.
Can you elaborate your achievement of 3 years as a MP and what are your plans for next 2 years?
I have been successful in getting many projects sanctioned in the last three years which are going to transform the face of my constituency. I have already spoken about Metro and waterways. Hon. Railway Minister has given green signal to Thakurli terminus which is very essential to decongest the suburban network beyond Thane. Rs. 428 CR Kalwa-Airoli elevated link project, essential for direct rail services to Navi Mumbai from Kalyan has already been sanction. Work of the creek bridge required to give direct connectivity to Dombivali from Thane is under way. Infrastructure on many stations such as Diva and Thakurli have been improved in the form of additional platforms, FOBs, escalators, elevators for senior citizens & handicapped, new booking houses, ATVM machines, fresh water vending machines and so on. Halt to fast local at Diva has also been provided after my persistent efforts.
What is the update on kalyan international airport?
There is no such plan.
How do you feel about Central govt scheme implementation at ground level and lupoll?
Any government keeps announcing various schemes for the benefit of the common man. The intentions are always right but the implementation is what matters in the end. Therefore, schemes announced by this government such as Mudra Yojana, AMRUT, Smart City, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana are all great. Some of them, such as Smart City and Awas Yojana have started to gain the momentum. Therefore, the next two years are going to be important.
As a MP you have to adopt & develop as Adarsh village in every year, kindly comment on your adopted village details?
I have adopted Nagaon which is near Taloja. My attempt was to initiate the development from within instead of forcing it from outside. Therefore, I held a lot of discussions with villagers to know what they wanted and accordingly prepared a development plan with the help of district administration. Today, the village has an excellent road connecting to the main highway. We have focused upon increasing the yield of farmers by improving the soil health as well as ensuring water availability. Today, the school in Nagaon is one of the best in the area, as we have built additional class rooms and a science room which gives our students practical experience of various scientific phenomenon.
How you rate yourself and your work amongst 79 MP below 42 Years?
This is something which people have to decide. I cannot blow my own trumpet.
What are your views on Father-Son story in politics?
There have been many examples of father-son duo in Indian politics. Of course it helps in terms of experience that the father has in politics. He can guide you but you have to chart your own path. There is a notion that it is easy for those whose fathers or mothers are in politics but the reality is otherwise. In democracy, you have to earn the faith of people. It is a constant battle as you cannot take them for granted. You have to earn their respect by constantly working for them and by keeping yourself grounded.
Today Eknath Shinde is the face of shivsena in thane district and he is also close to shivsena chief Uddhav Thackeray. how do you feel?
Shivsena leadership has always appreciated and valued hard working sainiks. My father, though he is a cabinet minister today, always considers himself a humble sainik of Balasaheb and Uddhav Saheb. Party has given him opportunities because of his sheer hard work and organizational skill. I am trying to imbibe those qualities.
Today Thanekers are looking your father in a place of Anand Dighe sahib?
No one can replace Dighe Saheb. My father knows it and that is why he never tried to replace Dighe Saheb. He has a great respect for him, as any shivsainik from Thane would have and he has always tried to carry forward the good work Dighe Saheb did as Zilla Pramukh under the leadership of Balasaheb.
What you think shiv-sena BJP will complete their tenure of 5 years in the Maharashtra state?
I see no reason why they cannot complete the tenure. They are natural partners for past many years. However it takes two hands to clap.
Please tell us about Modi’s decision on demonetization and its benefits.
Demonetization was supposedly announced to unearth the black money. However, the data which was published in the last few months viz a viz black money is not very encouraging. Demonetization proved to be windfall for banks as they got deposits running into lakhs of crores within a short span of time. All this money was expected to be circulated in the economy in the form of advances. However, the credit take off is not that good in spite of RBI lowering Repo Rate and CRR. Banks are not willing to lend because of mounting NPAs. RBI has put some of the leading banks under PCA (Prompt Corrective Action) to improve their health. Also, the GDP has taken a hit. We have squandered the benefit of low oil prices. These are not good signs for our economy.
Do you think GST will be helpful for the nation, which is going to impose from 1st of july-17?
It will be too early to comment on the effects of GST. Ideally a single rate GST would have been preferred, as experiences in other nations have shown. Therefore, we must aim to move towards single rate GST.
Who is you role model in politics?
Who inspired you much since childhood days?
Again, the answer is same. My father.
Is there any plan to encourage youth for joining into politics for better India?
Shivsena has always encouraged youth to join politics. Yuva Sena, headed by Aditya Saheb Thackeray is nurturing young talent.
Which sports do you like, how you spare your leisure time?
I love cricket. I also like to travel, read and listening to good music.
What message would you like to give to our youth who wants to come into politics and our readers?
It’s a great place to be in. We need young blood, new ideas and positive outlook. Today’s youth is very bright and sharp. India is a young country. So we need more and more young politicians to give voice to the aspirations of millions of young Indians.