Jagdeep Dhankhar, the BJP-led NDA’s candidate for Vice-President, filed his nomination papers today. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was with him, as were Cabinet Ministers Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah, and BJP President JP Nadda.
In front of Mr Dhankhar, 71, a former West Bengal governor who had a big innings with the BJP in Rajasthan, the Opposition has put forward veteran Congress leader Margaret Alva, 77, in the polls slated for August 6. The last date for nominations is tomorrow.
The term of the existing Vice-President, M Venkaiah Naidu, ends on August 10. Mr Naidu, a former BJP president and union minister, had won effortlessly in 2017.
Mr Dhankhar resigned as governor yesterday to run for Vice-President, who is also the chairperson of the Rajya Sabha by default.
Ahead in the day, Mr Dhankhar met MPs from different parties supporting his proposal. There, too, PM Modi and other senior BJP leaders were present, other than that MPs from the Biju Janata Dal and Lok Jankshakti Party, among others.
PM Modi had illustrated Jagdeep Dhankhar’s farming background while declaring his name.
Kisan Putra Jagdeep Dhankhar Ji is known for his humility. He brings with him an illustrious legal, legislative and gubernatorial career. He has always worked for the well-being of farmers, youth, women and the marginalised. Glad that he will be our VP candidate. @jdhankhar1 pic.twitter.com/TJ0d05gAa8
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 16, 2022
Born in a Jat family in 1951 at Kithana village in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan, Mr Dhankhar was a lawyer at the Supreme Court before getting politics in 1990.
He worked with former deputy PM Devi Lal, a Jat farmer leader from Haryana. In the short-lived, Congress-supported administration of Chandra Shekhar, Mr Dhankhar was a minister. He entered the Congress when PV Narasimha Rao became PM. But, as Ashok Gehlot rose to the top of the party in Rajasthan, Mr Dhankhar changed to the BJP.
Three years ago, he was elected Governor of West Bengal, where he had frequent run-ins with the Mamata Banerjee-led government. He was impeached by Ms Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress of doing the bidding of the BJP-led central government.