It has been a meteoric rise for Sushilkumar Shinde from a police sub-inspector in Maharashtra to the Union Home Minister.
Affable and known to take everyone along, Shinde, a former Maharashtra Chief Minister, brings in years of experience from his six-year stint in the police force to long years in the government and the party organisation.
Shinde holds a record of presenting nine budgets in a row as the finance minister of the state and had also made a mark as cultural affairs minister.
Despite leading the Congress to victory in the state in the 2004 assembly elections, Shinde failed to become the chief minister again and was instead sent to Andhra Pradesh as Governor.
But in little over a year, Shinde was back at the national scene in January 2006 having been made the Power Minister, a portfolio he continued to hold till today.
A known loyalist of the Gandhi family, Shinde had unsuccessfully contested the vice-presidential elections as the combined opposition nominee in 2002 against Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, the candidate of the then ruling NDA.
Starting as a boy peon in a court, the 71-year-old Dalit leader has literally come the hard way since his 1971 foray in politics.
In fact, working as a sub-inspector of Police CID (Intelligence), Mumbai, for six years brought him in close contact with political leaders of all hues, including his political mentor Sharad Pawar.
Pawar, then General Secretary of the Maharashtra Congress, spotted his talent and asked him to take the political plunge by contesting the state assembly elections.
Shinde won the Karmala assembly constituency in 1974 and became a minister in Maharashtra.
Born on September 4, 1941, Shinde was elected MLA from Solapur five times and is into his third term as a Lok Sabha member.