He began his career as a personal assistant to Sharad Pawar, entered politics through Congress and went on to become a legislator and later a minister. On Wednesday, Dilip Walse-Patil (56) became the 13th Speaker of the state Assembly.
Walse-Patil, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator, was elected unopposed as Speaker after Opposition candidate, BJP’s Girish Bapat, withdrew from the fray.
Those who know Walse-Patil well said he would be the perfect choice if party chief Pawar was looking for somebody who could rein in the unruly members of parties like Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.
“He is one of the most disciplined persons in our party. By nominating him, the party wants to send a message that it wants to maintain decorum of the Legislature,” said his party colleague Prakash Binsale.
Walse-Patil shot to fame during the Shiv Sena-BJP rule in the state when he was part of the Congress legislators’ young brigade that attacked the ruling side in the Legislature and exposed several cases of corruption and mismanagement.
Son of a former Congress legislator, Dattatraya Walse-Patil, Walse-Patil studied law and journalism before he took up a job as personal assistant to Pawar when the latter was CM.
He made his debut in the Assembly from Ambegaon in 1990. Since 1999, he has been a minister, holdings departments like Energy, Higher and Technical Education and Finance.
Though the Speaker’s post is regarded as important one, Walse-Patil was keen on a Cabinet berth. He was reportedly reluctant to accept the party nomination but was later convinced by party colleagues.