Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, 57, was later awarded with Lok Sabha tickets by the impressed Thackeray. [Pictures of new ministers in NDA cabinet]
Prabhu was also catapulted subsequently as a key minister in the NDA-I government headed by then prime minister A. B. Vajpayee and was rated amongst its best performers.
The soft-spoken minister quickly made a mark in the cabinet and simultaneously bagged the Rajapur Lok Sabha seat four times in a row, but lost in 2009 when the UPA was voted to power for a second time.
It was during his stint as the union power minister - a critical infrastructure portfolio - that Prabhu really excelled. The government became confident to set a target to bring electricity to all homes by 2012.
Later, even Maharashtra targeted itself to become load-shedding free state by 2012, most of which has been achieved.
Prabhu also served as chairman of task force for the inter-linking of rivers project, which was close to Vajpayee's heart, and which could resolve the twin problems of droughts and floods that perpetually plague India.
After the 2009 Lok Sabha elections in which he lost, Prabhu went down only briefly to bounce back with several major international assignments.
Considered close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he was recently head of a high-level Advisory Group for Integrated Development of Power, Coal and Renewable Energy for reforms in the power sector, and is working on or is a member of over a dozen major international organisations and panels.
Amidst all this, Prabhu has found time to indulge in some more academics - pursuing two doctorates simultaneously, one on Public Finance from Mumbai University and the other from Berlin University on Climate Change.
Prabhu is married to media person Uma, and the couple has a son Ameya. The family mostly lives in Mumbai.