Jagdeep Dhankhar became the new Vice President of India, after defeating opposition candidate Margaret Alva with a huge margin on Saturday. The NDA candidate who defeated opposition candidate Alva by 346 votes, secured 528 valid votes, highest in the last six vice-presidential polls since 1997. A total of 725 members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha cast their votes in the presidential election, in which more than 72 percent voted in favour of Dhankar. The 80-year-old Alva received only 182 votes in the election.
According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), a total of 55 members did not cast their votes in the vice presidential election, and the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) abstained from the election, with only two lawmakers – Sisir Adhikari and his son Dibyendu Adhikari – flouting the party line.
Apart from the NDA, TDP, YSR Congress Party, Shiromani Akali Dal, Biju Janata Dal and the Eknath Shinde-led faction of Shiv Sena also backed Jagdeep Dhankar in the election.
About Jagdeep Dhankhar
Former West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who hails from Rajasthan, was born in 1951, in Kithana village of Jhunjhunu district. Dhankhar, a Jat leader, completed his primary education in a government school in his village itself. After that he went to the Sainik School of Chittorgarh, where he completed his secondary education.
He did his graduation in physics from Rajasthan University, however, he left it and opted to pursue advocacy. Dhankhar did his LLB from Rajasthan University, and has been practicing in the Supreme Court since 1990.
Those who know Jagdeep Dhankhar closely have often said that he has been influenced by Chaudhary Devi Lal, who brought him into politics.
Dhankhar joined politics with the Janata Dal in 1989, and became the Member of Parliament in 1990. Later, he joined the Congress and was elected as a MLA from the Kishangarh seat during 1993-1998.
With the rise of Ashok Gehlot in Rajasthan, Dhankhar decided to leave the Congress and join the BJP in 2008, and since then his political graph has continued to rise.
In a surprise move, the BJP appointed Dhankhar as the governor of West Bengal in July 2019. During his tenure, Dhankhar had always been in a face-off with the Mamata didi government. He often attacked the West Bengal government and accused the CM of “explicitly appeasing” the minority community for the sake of her vote bank. He alleged that democracy under the Mamata Banerjee government is in deep peril in Bengal, and that the governance is much away from the constitutional norms. During his tenure, he often summoned TMC leaders for their alleged role in political violence and corruption in the state. On the other hand, the party also accused Dhankhar of interfering into the elected government’s business. Recently, Mamata Banerjee had blocked him on Twitter, citing that his repeated tweets against her government and officials forced her to do so. The tussle between the party supremo and Jadgeep Dhankhar came to an end after he resigned from his post to contest the election for the post of vice president.
After Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Dhankhar is the second person from Rajasthan who became the Vice President of India.
PM, President Hail Dhankhar
Prime Minister Narendera Modi congratulated Dhankhar on being elected as the new vice president of the country. Calling him a “Kisan Putra”, PM Modi said, “I am confident he will be an outstanding Vice President. Our nation will gain tremendously from his intellect and wisdom.”
Newly elected President Droupadi Murmu also congratulated Dhankhar, and said that the nation will benefit from his long and rich experience of public life. “Heartiest congratulations to Shri Jagdeep Dhankar ji on being elected as the fourteenth Vice President of India. The nation will greatly benefit from your vast experience and legal expertise. My best wishes for a successful and fruitful tenure,” said M Venkaiah Naidu in his tweet.
Home Minister Amit Shah also called Dhankhar a “Kisan Putra”, and said that it’s a matter of joy for the country. “The Upper House will benefit from his close understanding and his experience of ground level issues,” wrote Shah on Twitter. Several opposition leaders like Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, and Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin also congratulated Jagdeep Dhankar.
Margaret Alva Slams Opposition
Defeated opposition candidate Margaret Alva congratulated Dhankhar on his victory, while also criticising some opposition parties for supporting the BJP candidate in the election.
Expressing her indignation on Twitter, Alva said that this election was an opportunity for the opposition to work together, to leave the past behind, and build trust amongst each other, but unfortunately, some opposition parties chose to directly or indirectly support the BJP in an attempt to derail the idea of a united opposition.
“The battle for protecting our Constitution, strengthening our democracy & restoring the dignity of Parliament, will continue,” said the former governor of Goa, in her tweet.