In 1996, when a new political party, Shiv Sena was born, Sawant, a Maratha, joined it as a teenaged Shiv Sainik when he was in Class IXth, subsequently rose through the ranks to become a Deputy Leader of the party, and now catapulted as a minister in the second term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Over the years, he was a two-term MLC in the state, served as a Gat Pramukh, helped the Sena win civic and assembly elections all over the state as the party grew in stature both in Maharashtra and within the ruling National Democratic Alliance under former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee and later Modi.
Born on December 31, 1951, he is Regarded as an 'aapla Manus' (Our Man). Following the principles of the founder-patriarch of Shiv Sena, the late Bal Thackeray of "80 percent social work, 20 percent politics," Sawant is known for his oratorical skills, and won the Best Orator in Maharashtra Legislative Council in 1996.
A science graduate from University of Mumbai, he was actively involved in teaching students of financially weak families. He took part in cricket tournaments and contributed to building other sports, Ganeshotsav celebrations, cultural activities and 'Diwali with tribals', and travelled by ST buses all over Maharashtra to from the ST Kamgar Sena.
( With inputs from IANS )