FILE PHOTO: National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Jagdeep Dhankhar is elected as the 14th Vice President of India in New Delhi on Saturday, August 6, 2022. (ANI Photo)
New Delhi: Once a “reluctant politician”, Jagdeep Dhankhar’s re-emergence on the political scene as the Governor of West Bengal in 2019 surprised many, leading to his rise to the post of Vice President of India.
Dhankhar, 71, was declared the vice-president on Saturday after getting 528 votes against his rival candidate Margaret Alva’s 182 votes.
A man of many interests, his long legal career in the Rajasthan High Court and the Supreme Court and a brief stint as a junior Parliamentary Affairs Minister at the Center will serve as the Speaker of the Rajya Sabha.
Dhankhar, who was associated with the Janata Dal and the Congress, joined the BJP in 2008 after a hiatus of almost a decade.
He has raised issues related to OBC status for the Jat community in Rajasthan and other backward classes.
While his surprise appointment as the Governor of West Bengal in 2019 brought him back into the political limelight, he has not shied away from the hustle and bustle of politics and has repeatedly clashed with the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress.
The BJP described Dhankhar as a “kisan putra” while announcing its candidacy for the vice-presidential election, a move seen in political circles as aimed at reaching out to the politically important Jat community who participated in large numbers in the year-long farmers’ agitation. on the borders of the national capital against the agrarian reform measures unveiled in June 2020.
Before his appointment as the 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 Legislative Assembly in 1993-98 from the Congress party.
Dhankhar, who played cricket in 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 election from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan, which was marred by the Bofors scam. . He had a brief stint as Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs under Prime Minister Chandrashekhar.
Last month, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological guru of the ruling BJP, held its three-day annual meeting in Jhunjhunu.
In his early journey as a politician, Dhankhar was influenced by Devi Lal and later moved to the Congress during the tenure of Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao.
After hanging up his boots as an MLA, Dhankhar focused on his legal career, practicing as an advocate in the Supreme Court. He also served three years 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 skills”. Dhankhar is also known to have warm relations with leaders beyond the party, a quality that will come in handy as Rajya Sabha Speaker.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that Dhankhar had a good knowledge of the Constitution and had a good understanding of the working of the Legislature.
“I am confident that he will be an excellent Speaker of the Rajya Sabha and guide the work of the House with a view to furthering national progress,” the Prime Minister said on July 16.
His election as vice-president will also mean that the presiding officers of both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will be from Rajasthan, one of the only two states currently held by Congress governments, which is due to go to polls next year.
Nadda said Dhankhar’s life story reflects the spirit of a new India – one that is overcoming numerous social and economic obstacles and achieving its goals.
Dhankhar was born on 18 May 1951 in Kithana village of Jhunjhunu district in Rajasthan. He did his primary schooling in his Kithana village and later joined Sainik School, Chittorgarh on a full scholarship.
After graduating from Sainik School, he joined the B.Sc (Hons) Physics course at Maharaja’s College, Jaipur, according to his biography on the West Bengal Raj Bhavan website.
He is also known as an avid reader and sports enthusiast and was the president of Rajasthan Olympic Association and Rajasthan Tennis Association.
He is married to Sudesh and has a daughter.