New Delhi, Nov 30: Is it the end of the road? Shivraj Vishwanath Patil, who stepped down as Union Home Minister today in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, had been the Speaker of the 11th Lok Sabha and also served the Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi cabinets as the Defence Minister during the 1980's.
Patil had lost the 2004 Lok Sabha election from Latur and is a member of the Rajya Sabha.
Patil was considered a likely candidate in 2007 Presidential election. However, after the Left parties opposed his candidature, Congress President Sonia Gandhi proposed Pratibha Patil, Governor of Rajasthan, as the Presidential candidate. He was later considered a possible candidate for the post of Vice President of India. His extensive parliamentary experience and his reputation for fairness were said to be the main advantages on his side.
Patil was born on October 12, 1935, in the village of Chakur in the Latur district (Marathwada region) of Maharashtra. He attended Osmania University, Hyderabad, earning a graduation degree in Science and studied Law at the Bombay University. During 1967-69, he was involved in local government (Latur Municipality).
Patil belongs to the Lingayat community spread across Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. He married late Mrs Vijaya Patil in June 1963.
Between 1972-79, he was member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for two terms during which time he held various positions such as Chairman of Public Undtertakings Committee, Deputy Minister (Las&Judiciary, Irrigation, Protocol), Deputy Speaker of the Assembly and Speaker of the Assembly.
In 1980, he got elected to the 7th Lok Sabha. By 1999 (13th Lok Sabha), he had won seven successive Lok Sabha elections.
He was first inducted in the Indira Gandhi-led government as Minister of State for Defence (1980-82), he was given independent charge of the Commerce Ministry (1982-83), from where he was shifted to Science and Technology, Atomic Energy, Electronics, Space and Ocean Development (1983-84).
During 1983-86, he was Vice President of CSIR India. He also served on various committees including those on Defence, External Affairs, Finance, Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament.
In the Rajiv Gandhi government, he was Minister for Personnel, Defence production and later held independent charge of Civil Aviation and Tourism.
He has also held a number of important positions in the party ever since Sonia Gandhi took over the presidency of the party. He is largely known for introducing the The Outstanding Parliamentarian Award, India in 1995. He was the chairman of the manifesto committee of the party during the 1999 Lok Sabha election.
As speaker of the Lok Sabha, he had began or contributed in initiatives on information dissemination to members of the Parliament (through computerisation and modernisation), construction of Parliament Library Building and broadcast of Lok Sabha proceedings, including live broadcast of Question Hour of both Houses of the Parliament.
Between 1991-1995, he was a member/leader of Indian Parliamentary delegations to various international Parliamentary conferences.