Shivraj Vishwanath Patil (born October 12, 1935) is the current Union Minister of Home Affairs in the Manmohan Singh government and member of the Rajya Sabha. Previously he had been the Speaker of the 11th Lok Sabha and served Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi cabinets as the defence minister during the 80's.
During 1983-86, he was Vice President of CSIR India. He also served on various committees including those on Defence, External Affairs, Finance, Salaries and Allowances of Members of Parliament.
In the Rajiv Gandhi government, he was Minister for Personnel, Defence production and later held independent charge of Civil Aviation and Tourism.
He has also held a number of important positions in the party ever since Sonia Gandhi took over the presidency of the party. He is largely known for introducing the The Outstanding Parliamentarian Award, India in 1995. He was the chairman of the manifesto committee of the party during the 1999 Lok Sabha election.
As speaker of the Lok Sabha, he had began or contributed in initiatives on information dissemination to members of the Parliament (through computerisation and modernisation), construction of Parliament Library Building and broadcast of Loksabha proceedings, including live broadcast of Question Hour of both houses of the parliament.
Between 1991-1995, he was a member / leader of Indian parliamentary delegations to various international parliamentary conferences.
Patil's name was considered a likely candidate in 2007 presidential election. However, after the Left parties opposed his candidature, Sonia Gandhi proposed Pratibha Patil, Governor of Rajasthan, as the presidential candidate. Shivraj Patil was later considered a possible candidate for the post of Vice President of India. His extensive parliamentary experience and his reputation for fairness were said to be the main advantages on his side.