National

Arvind Sawant: from MTNL officer to Union Minister

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on May 30, 2019

Senior Shiv Sena and veteran trade union leader, Arvind Sawant was sworn in as Union Minister on Thursday. It has been a long journey for the former MTNL officer, but he has finally reached the Union government.

In 1995, Sawant started his journey as president of MTNL workers’ union and went on become an MLC in 1996. He also climbed the ranks of the party, and being a close confidant of Sena Chief Uddhav Thackery, he was given the opportunity to fight Lok Sabha elections for the first time in 2014. In the recent elections from the South Mumbai constituency, Sawant defeated Former Union Minister Milind Deora from the Congress for the second time by a margin of 1,28,564.

A former MTNL engineer told BusinessLine that Sawant’s main contribution to the union was getting the service and pension benefits to employees who had entered MTNL as a lateral entry from Department of Telecom (DoT). When mobile services were introduced in the country, MTNL started losing money from the landline business, but Sawant ensured that the employees got their benefits, the engineer said.

However, Sawant has also been a vocal critic of demonetisation and some of the past policies of Modi government. It would be interesting to see how Sawant manages to maintain his portfolio, given his roots in the Shiv Sena politics of Mumbai.

Published on May 30, 2019

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