From courtroom to ministerial office: The journey of BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi

Meenakshi Lekhi has been appointed as the Minister of State for the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Culture in the cabinet expansion undertaken by PM Modi on Wednesday.

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A 54-year-old MP from the New Delhi constituency, Meenakshi Lekhi has been promoted and included in the Union Council of Ministers of the Modi government. In the first cabinet expansion undertaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi since coming to power in 2019, Meenakshi Lekhi has been appointed as the Minister of State for the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Culture.

A lawyer by profession, Lekhi has been a vocal face over the years for the BJP, having actively participated in TV debates and raising various party issues in the courts and the Parliament. She was appointed as the vice president of BJP Mahila Morcha in 2010 and the party’s national spokesperson in 2013.

In her legal career, she stood in support of granting permanent commission to women officers in the Indian armed forces.

As a two-term MP, she has taken part in drafting crucial bills like the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill and the Women Reservation Bill. Lekhi has played an instrumental role in several name changes reflecting the BJP’s ideology like- changing ‘Aurangzeb Road’ to ‘APJ Abdul Kalam Road’ and the renaming of the road outside the PM’s house from 7 Race Course Road to 7 Lok Kalyan Marg.

In 2017, she was given the “Best Debut Woman Parliamentarian” award by Lokmat.

Her commitment to the party could be observed in 2019 when she filed a petition in the Supreme Court which ultimately forced Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to apologize for referring to PM Modi as “chowkidar chor hai ”

On the foreign policy front, Lekhi virtually took part in the swearing-in ceremony of the current Taiwanese President Tsai Ingwen in May 2020, which led to an angry protest by China. She has also participated in international forums like UN Environment Assembly and interacted with the Norwegian embassy in India.