West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar chosen to be NDA's Vice Presidential nominee

Jagdeep Dhankhar has been in the limelight since becoming governor of West Bengal in July, 2019 over frequent run-ins with the Mamata Banerjee government

West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar (File)
West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar (File)
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PTI

Jagdeep Dhankhar, whose candidature as NDA's vice presidential candidate was announced Saturday, has been in the limelight since becoming governor of West Bengal in July, 2019 over frequent run-ins with the Mamata Banerjee government.

A lawyer by profession, Jagdeep Dhankhar forayed into politics in 1989 and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan that same year and became a Union Minister in 1990.

Dhankhar, who practised in Rajasthan High Court and the Supreme Court, was designated a senior advocate in 1990, the same year he became a Union minister.

He was also a member of the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha from 1993 to 1998 representing Kishangarh constituency.

The lawyer-turned politician was appointed governor of West Bengal in July 2019 and has since had a tumultuous relationship with the ruling Trinamool Congress in the state.

The TMC leadership has often accused him of acting as an `agent of the BJP', while the saffron party in the state looked upon him as an upholder of constitutional norms'.

On his part, Dhankhar has claimed he has gone by the rule book and the Constitution in pointing out issues to the Mamata Banerjee government and the state legislature.

Acrimony between Dhankhar and TMC and its leader often led to messy situations with both levelling accusations at each other. The issues which had Raj Bhavan and Nabanna sniping at each other ranged from post-poll violence in the state to delays in assent to bills passed in the House, besides interference in the functioning of the civilian bureaucracy and state run universities.

Interestingly, Banerjee had met Dhankhar on Wednesday along with BJP's pointsman for Northeast, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at Darjeeling. No details of the meeting were made public by either side and it was termed as a courtesy call.

However, analysts said NDA's nominee Dhankhar, described by the BJP as 'kisan putra' (son of farmer), has a lot more to more going than just being someone always at odds with the West Bengal Chief Minister .

He is a Jat, a politically important caste which influences votes in a number of north Indian states besides Rajasthan.

Like most Jat politicians from his time, Dhankhar was originally associated with Devi Lal and he followed his mentor when the latter walked out of the VP Singh government and became a union minister in 1990 in the minority government led by Chandrashekhar.

He joined the Congress when P V Narsimha Rao became the prime minister and Devi Lal was no more that effective. But with the rise of Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan politics, he shifted to the BJP and is said to have become close to Vasundhara Raje soonafter.

Along with other leaders, he was involved with the grant of OBC status to Other Backward Classes, including Jat community in Rajasthan.

Dhankhar who has in the past claimed to be a `reluctant politician' graduated with honours in physics from Maharaja's College in Jaipur and an LLB degree from Jaipur University in 1978-79.

Before that he had schooled at Sainik School, Chittorgarh on a full merit scholarship after his primary education from the government school at village Kithana in Jhunjhunu, where he was born in 1951.

He is married to Sudesh Dhankhar and they have a daughter.

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