dhankhar: Jagdeep Dhankhar: A politician, lawyer who can hold his own

New Delhi: A shrewd lawyer, persistent rival and survivor in politics with a confident, lovable personality who loves a good fight – that’s how people who have seen the work of Vice President-elect Jagdeep Dhankhar describe him.

In his last posting as governor of West Bengal, Dhankhar had repeated run-ins with the state government over a range of issues – from post-election violence to the management of universities and alleged corruption and politicization. administration. These enraged Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee have gone so far as to block him on Twitter to publicly urge the Center to pull him out of Bengal, and even urge opposition parties to “govern meddling” in the state administration a moot political point. against the BJP.

His stint as Governor of West Bengal is said to have reinforced his image as someone who knew how to get his side of the story heard.

The 71-year-old, who was born into a farming family in Kithana in Rajasthan, entered politics in 1989 and was elected to Jhunjhunu’s Lok Sabha on a Congressional ticket the same year and in 1990 became Minister of Health. Union in the government of Chandra Shekhar. . It moved to the BJP with the rise of Ashok Gehlot to the Congress of Rajasthan. Dhankhar, who has practiced in the High Court of Rajasthan and the Supreme Court, was appointed as a senior lawyer in 1990. People who have known him since that time consider him an expert in intellectual property rights.

“He’s been a political survivor. He’s approachable and knows how to market his worth, and humble, which makes it hard for people to hate him… And by Rajasthani standards, a pretty successful lawyer,” said one person who knew him. His Jat status is also seen as one of the important factors why the BJP chose him as the party prepares to step up its campaign in Haryana and Rajasthan. He was also a member of Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha from 1993 to 1998, representing Kishangarh constituency.

But it was his assignment in Bengal that put him in the spotlight. Beginning with differences with the Trinamool government’s handling of anti-CAA and later Covid-19 protests, Dhankhar regularly called out the state administration and police for their ‘failures’ in effectively enforcing of the lockdown, becoming the chief critic of the Mamata Banerjee government. . Banerjee once told the media that his text message upset her so much that she had to remind him that she was an elected chief minister of a proud Indian state, and he an appointed governor. He was called a “Twitter Man” who tweeted all his opinions, complaints and grievances against the Mamata Banerjee government. He regularly called the Chief Secretary and other senior officials of Raj Bhawan and sought clarification on the law and order situation in Bengal which had never been seen before in the administrative culture of Bengal. He spoke about the post-election violence, the investment scenario, the political culture and, ahead of the municipal elections, even had discussions with the head of the state election commission.

Always vocal about his opinions, Dhankhar invited the vice chancellors of public and private universities, drawing the ire of the state government. The West Bengal assembly passed a bill in June to appoint the chief minister as chancellor of all state universities, replacing the governor.

Dhankhar has never been shy about showing his political side. In May 2021, just after the TMC won the Assembly polls with a landslide victory, it toured the state including Sitalkuchi in North Bengal which saw the violent episode the most controversial in the elections. At the height of the conflict, the TMC spokesperson even warned “Ter Paben” (he will suffer the consequences) but that did not stop Dhankhar. When Ram’s temple verdict was announced in November 2019, he tweeted: “Long wait – thanks to historic judicial verdict. Silent appeasement posture resounds. Ram Sita in our Constitution.”

As the national head of the legal department and legal affairs of the BJP in 2016, Dhankhar had provided legal advice to the BJP, RSS and its affiliates, although he was not considered a swayamsevak shakha. He is also considered to be someone who has excellent relations with Hindu groups such as the Ramakrishna Mission and Bharat Sewashram.

Known often for his propensity as a governor to talk out of turn and think outside the box, Dhankhar enjoyed a friendly relationship with many political parties, due to his background in law, which would help him run the Rajya Sabha , according to many. In fact, a few weeks ago Banerjee, his Assam counterpart Himanta Biswa Sarma and Dhankhar were photographed together in Darjeeling at what they later described as a courtesy meeting. Last year, refuting Banerjee’s accusations that her name appeared in the indictment in the Jain Hawala case, Dhankhar refused to take legal action against her, saying she was after all like her younger sister.

After his name was announced as the running mate, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted about his excellent knowledge of the Constitution and his expertise in legislative affairs. These are mostly considered to be Dhankhar’s greatest strengths.

“He knows the arrangements, the procedures and the process… he’s an extremely confident political player who knows where
Laxman rekha is. He’s relentless in his aim, and the chase doesn’t tire him out… And along the way, he does a lot of posturing, because he plays the part,” said a person who knew him.

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