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Jagdeep Dhankhar: From lawyer to vice president, the rise of ‘farmer’s son’ from Rajasthan

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Jagdeep Dhankhar: From lawyer to vice president, the rise of ‘farmer’s son’ from Rajasthan

File photo: National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar was elected as the 14th Vice President of India on Saturday, August 6, 2022, in New Delhi. (ANI photo)

New Delhi: Once a “reluctant politician”, Jagdeep Dhankhar’s reappearance in the political scene in 2019 as the Governor of West Bengal came as a surprise to many, hence his rise to the office of the Vice President of India.

Dhankhar, 71, was declared elected as the Vice President on Saturday, securing 528 votes against his rival candidate Margaret Alva’s 182.

A man of many interests, his long legal career in the Rajasthan High Court and the Supreme Court and a brief stint as the Minister of Junior Parliamentary Affairs at the Center will come in handy as the Speaker of the Rajya Sabha.

Dhankhar, who was associated with the Janata Dal and Congress, joined the BJP in 2008 after a gap of nearly a decade.

He has supported the issues related to other backward classes including giving OBC status to the Jat community in Rajasthan.

While his surprise appointment as the Governor of West Bengal in 2019 brought him back into the political limelight, he did not shy away from the hustle and bustle of politics and was caught in a constant tussle with the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress.

The BJP, while announcing its candidacy for the vice-presidential election, described Dhankhar as a “farmer’s son”, a move seen in political circles aimed at reaching out to the politically important Jat community, which has helped farmers throughout the year. had participated in large numbers in the protests. At the borders of the national capital against the agricultural reform measures unveiled in June 2020.

Before his appointment as the Governor of West Bengal in 2019, Dhankhar was an unfamiliar name in political circles, especially as the last public post he held was as a member of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly from the Congress party from 1993-98.

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 from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan, held in the shadow of the Bofors scandal. , He had a brief stint as Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs under Prime Minister Chandrashekhar.

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

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

After hanging up his shoes as an MLA, Dhankhar focused on a legal career, practicing as an advocate in the Supreme Court. He also had a three-year term as a member of the International Court of Arbitration in Paris.

BJP president JP Nadda described Dhankhar as a first generation lawyer “fully equipped with administrative capacity”. Dhankhar is also known to have warm relations with leaders across party lines, a quality that will come in handy when he presides over the Rajya Sabha.

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

“I am sure that he will be an outstanding Speaker in the Rajya Sabha and will guide the proceedings of the House with the aim of furthering national progress,” the Prime Minister said on 16 July.

His election as Vice President will also mean that the presiding officers of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha will be from Rajasthan, one of only two states currently ruled by Congress governments, which coincidentally go to polls next year.

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

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

According to his biography on the West Bengal Raj Bhavan website, after graduating from Sainik School, he took admission in the B.Sc (Hons) Physics course at Maharaja’s College, Jaipur.

He is also known to be an avid reader and a sports lover and has been the President of the Rajasthan Olympic Association and the Rajasthan Tennis Association.

She married Sudesh and they have a daughter.

Jagdeep Dhankhar: From lawyer to vice president, the rise of ‘farmer’s son’ from Rajasthan

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