Q: Kindly share your journey regarding your foray into politics.
Arvind Sawant: Since childhood, I was inspired by the thoughts of Vandaniya Shivsenapramukh, who promoted 80% social work and 20% politics. I actively got involved in the social works of Shivsena through Sthaniya Lokadhikar Samiti (SLS) which was established to induce discipline and provide job opportunities. Due to the tremendous response to SLS meetings, a Union named ‘MTN Kamgar Sangh’ was founded under my leadership in MTNL. I continued to work for party while being employed.
In 1992, the Party entrusted me the responsibility of Jalgaon Taluka and in 1994, I was entrusted with the responsibility of entire North Maharashtra. Shivsena had no MLA in this region. I travelled through every small village, gaining in depth insight into the language, style, issues faced by farmers, etc. 12 Assembly seats were equally distributed among Shivsena and BJP as they were in alliance and I was assigned the job of looking after 6 assembly seats in the region, of which we won 4 in the very first election, thanks to the tireless efforts of my party colleagues. In the next elections, we won five seats, followed by a victory in the Corporation election at Jalgaon, Nashik. In 1994, Hon’ble Shivsena Party President Shri Uddhavji Thackeray delegated entire event management responsibility for this session and once again with our hard work and untiring drive, saffron was victorious in the year 1995. Seeing my dedication, Shivsenapramukh offered me the MLC seat in 1996. To do justice to the demands of efforts and time, I quit my job and was able to devote full time for social work. I served as MLC for two terms.
Another grateful opportunity I received to serve the state and the nation, is when Hon’ble Shivsena Party President Shri Uddhavji Thackeray selected me as Shivsena candidate for Maharashtra’s South Mumbai constituency for the 2014 Loksabha elections, where I got elected as Member of Parliament (MP) in the first place by defeating my rival by 1,28,000 votes.
Q: Explain the job satisfaction you get serving the people?
Arvind Sawant: I work passionately 24×7 for the people and it is their passion for social work which keeps me going. It’s the most satisfying work when you serve people and fulfil their dreams.
Q: What are the values you hold close and practice as a politician?
Arvind Sawant: I am a born Shivsainik. I’m inspired by the thoughts of Vandaniya Shivsenapramukh from my childhood. I follow in his footstep, in his words, ‘80% Social Work, 20% Politics’. We are in politics to serve the people. We do not do social work for holding any post in politics.
Q: Who do you idolize and what motivates you to continue serving the nation?
Arvind Sawant: My idol is and has always been Vandaniya Shivsenapramukh Hinduhridaysamrat Shriman Balasaheb Thackeray, who changed lives of thousands of ordinary class people and their families.
Q: Tell us about your family members
Arvind Sawant: My father graduated from Elphinstone College and had great command over English. He retired as Superintendent from Mumbai Port Trust. My mother is a home-maker who dedicated her life to the welfare of our big family. She taught us values of life – we were the only educated and qualified family in our chawl during those time. I have six siblings – two brothers and four sisters – all qualified and living independent respectful lives. My wife is a graduate and has been retired from MTNL. I have a son and a daughter.
Q: What other activities or hobbies do you pursue when you get the time?
Arvind Sawant: I am a sports lover. I played lots of cricket in my early days and have represented MTNL in the Times Shield Cricket Tournament. I organised many cricket tournaments and sports events in my areas on Shivsena platform. I was also a commentator. I have acted in Marathi plays and have won various competitions representing MTNL. I am fond of music and am also a voracious reader.
Q: What are your views on Hon’ble Shivsena Party President Shri Uddhavji Thackeray and Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modiji?
Arvind Sawant: The Hon’ble Shivsena Party President Shri Uddhavji Thackeray is well organised, a low profile leader who focuses on his work and always sees to it that his commitment/promises are fulfilled. All leaders have immense faith in him. Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modiji is a charismatic leader who has a great vision for India and is fully committed to fulfilling the dreams and aspirations of Indians.
Q: Please elaborate your relation with the Parsi community vis-à-vis the Shivsena.
Arvind Sawant: Shivsena is the most approachable party – it is open to all communities, not just to Marathi people. It represents all communities and helps them all, as is seen through Shri Uddhavji’s initiative – the ‘ME MUMBAIKAR’ Campaign. Shivsena is the only party in India which does not cater to any caste or religion based cell. Shivsena treats all our Parsi brothers and sisters as family members. Even at a personal level, I’ve got a number of Parsi friends. Our mayor first pays floral tribute to Statue of Sir Pherozeshah Mehta outside the BMC Building and this idol become recognition of MCGM building now. We have parsi post bearers who are like family members for us.