India: BJP names West Bengal governor as vice-presidential candidate

Jagdeep Dhankhar's election is almost a certainty as the BJP has a majority in the electoral college


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Jagdeep Dhankhar with Narendra Modi. — ANI
Jagdeep Dhankhar with Narendra Modi. — ANI

Published: Sat 16 Jul 2022, 10:20 PM

The BJP on Saturday named West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, a Jat leader from Rajasthan with socialist background, as the ruling National Democratic Alliance’s vice-presidential candidate. Making the announcement, BJP president JP Nadda lauded Dhankhar as a son of a farmer who, he said, established himself as a “people’s governor”.

Dhankhar’s election as vice-president, who is also the ex-officio chairperson of Rajya Sabha, is almost a certainty as the BJP has a majority in the electoral college comprising members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Out of Parliament’s current strength of 780, the BJP alone has 394 MPs, more than the majority mark of 390.

The BJP parliamentary board in a meeting, attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior leaders, picked the 71-year-old Dhankhar after deliberating over several names from different backgrounds, Nadda said.

After the announcement, Modi tweeted: “Jagdeep Dhankhar Ji has excellent knowledge of our Constitution. He is also well-versed with legislative affairs. I am sure that he will be an outstanding Chair in the Rajya Sabha & guide the proceedings of the House with the aim of furthering national progress.”

Since taking over as the West Bengal Governor in July 2019, Dhankhar has had several run-ins with the Mamata Banerjee government.

While his proactive conduct has drawn criticism from the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress, the BJP has backed him.

Being a Jat, a backward community in Rajasthan, Dhankhar’s elevation as vice-president is likely to send helpful political message for the BJP as not many Jats besides former prime minister Charan Singh and former deputy prime minister Devi Lal have occupied high positions at the national level.

He is seen as an affable and accessible person with keen grasp of law and the Constitution.

BJP leaders noted that Dhankhar has been in public life for more than three decades, and his life story reflects the spirit of new India: “Overcoming innumerable social and economic hurdles and achieving one’s goals”.

Nadda said Dhankhar established himself as a respected lawyer in the Rajasthan High Court and later in the Supreme Court before making a mark in politics.

He was elected to Lok Sabha from Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan in 1989 and had served briefly as a minister in the government led by Chandrashekhar. He joined the BJP later.

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