Jagdeep Dhankhar’s journey from a village in Rajasthan to Vice President House : The Tribune India


PTI

New Delhi, August 6

Once a “reluctant politician”, Jagdeep Dhankhar’s re-emergence on the political scene in 2019 as Governor of West Bengal came as a surprise to many, as did his rise to Vice President of India.

Dhankhar, 71, was declared elected vice-president on Saturday after winning 528 votes to 182 for his rival candidate Margaret Alva.

A man of multiple interests, his long legal career in the High Court of Rajasthan and the Supreme Court and a brief stint as Deputy Minister for Parliamentary Affairs at the Center will stand him in good stead as he presides over the Rajya Sabha as President.

Dhankhar, who had been associated with the Janata Dal and the Congress, only joined the BJP in 2008 after a hiatus of nearly a decade.

He has championed issues related to other backward classes including the granting of OBC status to the Jat community of Rajasthan.

While his surprise appointment as Governor of West Bengal in 2019 brought him back to the political forefront, he was not shy about dealing with the political uproar and was caught up in frequent skirmishes with the Trinamool Congress in power.

The BJP called Dhankhar a “kisan putra” when announcing his candidacy for the vice-presidential election, a move seen in political circles aimed at reaching out to the politically prominent Jat community that had participated in the protests in large numbers. year old farmers. at the borders of the nation’s capital against agricultural reform measures unveiled in June 2020.

Prior to his appointment as Governor of West Bengal in 2019, Dhankar was an unknown name in political circles, especially as the last public office he held was as a member of the Rajasthan Assembly from 1993 to 1998 from the Congress party.

Dhankhar, who took up cricket during his school days and also had a keen interest in spirituality and meditation, began his political journey with the Janata Dal and won the 1989 Lok Sabha elections held in the shadow of the Bofors scandal, from Jhunjhunu to Rajasthan. . He had a brief stint as Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs under Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar.

Last month, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP, held its annual three-day meeting in Jhunjhunu.

In his initial journey as a politician, Dhankhar was influenced by Devi Lal and later joined Congress during the tenure of Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao.

After hanging up his boots as an MP, Dhankhar focused on a legal career, practicing as a Supreme Court barrister. He was also a member of the International Court of Arbitration in Paris for three years.

BJP Chairman JP Nadda described Dhankhar as a first-generation lawyer “fully equipped in administrative capacity”. Dhankhar is also known to have warm ties with leaders of all parties, a quality that would come in handy when presiding over the Rajya Sabha.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Dhankhar had excellent knowledge of the Constitution and was well versed in legislative affairs.

“I am sure he will be an outstanding Speaker of the Rajya Sabha and guide the work of the House with the aim of advancing national progress,” the prime minister said July 16.

His election as vice-president will also mean that the presidents of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha will be from Rajasthan, among the only two states currently governed by Congress governments, who will incidentally go to the polls next year. next.

Nadda said Dhankhar’s life story reflects the spirit of the new India of overcoming innumerable social and economic obstacles and achieving its goals.

Dhankhar was born on May 18, 1951 in Kithana village, Jhunjhunu district, Rajasthan. He did his primary education in his village Kithana and later joined Sainik School, Chittorgarh on a full scholarship.

After graduating from Sainik School, he joined Maharaja’s College, Jaipur in the B.Sc (Honours) Physics course, according to his biography on the West Bengal Raj Bhavan website.

He is also known as an avid reader and sports enthusiast and served as the President of the Rajasthan Olympic Association and the Rajasthan Tennis Association.

He married Sudesh and they have a daughter.

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