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Jagdeep Dhankhar- Farmer’s Son Becomes India’s Vice President

He is a man with numerous passions, and his extensive legal career at the Rajasthan High Court and Supreme Court as well as his brief term as the junior parliamentary affairs minister at the Centre will be helpful when he chairs the Rajya Sabha.

Shivam Dwivedi
Jagdeep Dhankhar, Vice President of India
Jagdeep Dhankhar, Vice President of India

Many were astonished by Jagdeep Dhankhar's re-entry into politics as governor of West Bengal in 2019 as a former "reluctant politician," as well as by his election to the office of vice president of India. Dhankhar, 71, was declared victorious in the election for vice president on Saturday after receiving 528 votes against Margaret Alva's 182 votes.

About Jagdeep Dhankhar

Dhankhar is a man with numerous passions, and his extensive legal career at the Rajasthan High Court and Supreme Court as well as his brief term as the junior parliamentary affairs minister at the Centre will be helpful when he chairs the Rajya Sabha.

Dhankhar, who had ties with the Janata Dal and the Congress, only rejoined the BJP in 2008, following a sabbatical of almost ten years. He has advocated for Other Backward Classes issues, such as granting OBC status to the Jat community in Rajasthan.

While his surprise appointment as West Bengal governor in 2019 thrust him back into the political spotlight, he did not shy away from the rigours of politics, and was frequently embroiled in clashes with the state's ruling Trinamool Congress.

While announcing his candidacy for the vice-presidential election, the BJP referred to Dhankhar as a "kisan putra," a move seen in political circles as an attempt to reach out to the politically significant Jat community, which had participated in large numbers in the year-long farmers' protests on the borders of the national capital against agriculture reform measures unveiled in June 2020.

Prior to his appointment as West Bengal Governor in 2019, Dhankar was a relatively unknown name in political circles, especially given that his most recent public office was as a Member of Rajasthan Assembly from the Congress party from 1993 to 1998.

Dhankhar, who played cricket in school and was interested in spirituality and meditation, began his political career with the Janata Dal and won the Lok Sabha elections from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan in 1989, under the shadow of the Bofors scandal. He served as Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs under Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar for a short time.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ruling BJP's ideological mentor, held its three-day annual meeting in Jhunjhunu last month. Dhankhar was influenced by Devi Lal during his early political career and later switched to the Congress during Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao's tenure.

After retiring as an MLA, Dhankhar pursued a legal career, working as a Supreme Court lawyer. He also served as a member of the International Court of Arbitration in Paris for three years. Dhankhar, according to BJP President J P Nadda, is a first-generation lawyer with administrative experience. Dhankhar is also known for having cordial relationships with leaders from opposing parties, which will come in handy as he preside over the Rajya Sabha.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that Dhankhar was well-versed in legislative matters and had excellent knowledge of the Constitution. "I am confident that he will be an outstanding Chair in the Rajya Sabha and guide the proceedings of the House with the goal of furthering national progress," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on July 16.

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 the only two states currently ruled by Congress governments, which happens to be up for election next year.

According to Nadda, Dhankhar's life story exemplifies the spirit of new India, which is overcoming innumerable social and economic obstacles to achieve one's goals. Dhankhar was born on May 18, 1951, in Kithana village in Rajasthan's Jhunjhunu district. He attended primary school in his hometown of Kithana before enrolling in the Sainik School in Chittorgarh on a full scholarship.

According to his biography on the West Bengal Raj Bhavan website, after graduating from Sainik School, he enrolled in the B.Sc (Honours) Physics course at the Maharaja's College, Jaipur. He is also an avid reader and sports fan, and he has served as President of the Rajasthan Olympic Association and the Rajasthan Tennis Association.

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