Jagdeep Dhankhar, a lawyer, politician and former Bengal Governor best remembered for his frequent run-ins with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, is all set to begin his new innings as the Vice President of India. Dhankhar, the NDA’s candidate for the post, became the second leader after Bhairosingh Shekhawat from Rajasthan to reach the top post, beating opposition nominee Margaret Alva.
Addressing the media, Lok Sabha Secretary General Utpal Kumar Singh said, “Out of 780 electors, including elected and nominated members of the Rajya Sabha and elected members of the Lok Sabha, 725 voted. Total voting was 92.94 percent. Dhankar won by 346 votes as he got 528 out of the total 725 votes. Alva got 182 votes in the election while 15 were invalid.
Born on 18 May 1951 in a remote village in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan, to an agricultural family, Dhankhar completed his schooling at Sainik School in Chittorgarh; Graduated in Physics and then LLB from University of Rajasthan. Dhankhar has been married to Sudesh Dhankhar since 1979 and has a daughter.
Dhankhar started his career as an advocate in the Bar Council of Rajasthan in 1979. He became a senior advocate appointed by the High Court of Justice for Rajasthan in 1990. He was the senior-most appointed senior advocate of the state until he became the Governor of Bengal in 2019.
He practiced in the Supreme Court since 1990 and appeared before various High Courts in India. He has also served as the President of the Rajasthan High Court Bar Association.
He entered politics in 1989 when he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan on a Janata Dal ticket. He became a Union Minister in 1990.
From 1993 to 1998, Dhankhar – who has previously claimed to be a ‘reluctant politician’ – was also a member of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly from the Kishangarh constituency.
According to news agency PTI, Dhankhar, like most Jat leaders of his time, was originally associated with Devi Lal and his political career began to flourish when, as a young lawyer at the time, he was selected by Lal as an opposition candidate. 1989 from the Jhunjhunu parliamentary constituency – then a Congress stronghold – and won. He followed his mentor Devi Lal when VP Singh quit the government and became a Union minister in 1990 in a minority government led by Chandrashekhar.
Later, when PV Narasimha Rao became Prime Minister and Devi Lal’s influence waned, he joined the Congress. But after the rise of Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan politics, Dhankhar joined the BJP and soon became close to Vasundhara Raje. However, during hiatus in his political career he focused on his legal calling for more than a decade.
Dhankhar continued to be in the news after his appointment as the Governor of West Bengal in July 2019 and his tumultuous relationship with the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress in the state became the talk of the town. The TMC leadership often accused him of acting as an “agent of the BJP”, while the saffron party in the state saw him as an enforcer of constitutional norms.
On his part, Dhankhar has claimed that he has gone by the rule book and the constitution to raise issues with the Mamata Banerjee government and the state legislature.
Dhankhar resigned from his post on 17 July 2022 after being named as NDA’s candidate for the Vice-Presidential election.
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