Jagdeep Dhankhar, 71, a former governor of West Bengal and candidate for the BJP-led NDA, was chosen as India’s 14th vice president on Saturday. He easily defeated Margaret Alva, a nominee for the opposition, winning 528 votes to her 182 in the election.
Dhankhar and the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) administration have been at odds since the BJP-ruled Centre named him as the Bengal Governor in July 2019.
The first election Jagdeep Dhankhar ran in, when he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu in 1989, was on a Janata Dal ticket. This was surprising for a leader who was better known for his conflicts with the Banerjee government than the governor, and who the TMC frequently accused of acting as an “agent of the BJP.”
He ran in his subsequent election for the Rajasthan Assembly, this time on the Republican ticket. Dhankhar, a 1978–79 LLB graduate of the University of Rajasthan in Jaipur, served as the assembly representative for the Kishangarh Assembly seat between 1993 and 1998. He is a past president of the Rajasthan High Court Bar Association.
In 2016, Jat politician Dhankhar, who joined the BJP, was appointed national coordinator of the saffron party’s law and legal affairs division. He formerly “provided substantial support both politically and through legal advice and assistance,” according to BJP sources, to the BJP, RSS, and its affiliates.
Dhankhar, who was raised in a farming family in the hamlet of Kithana in the Jhunjhunu district, attended a local government school before enrolling in the Sainik School in Chittorgarh. He married Sudesh Dhankhar and have a daughter, named Kamna.
The votes were reportedly tallied today, and as a result, India’s next vice president will be sworn in on August 11—notably, one day after the current vice president, M. Venkaiah Naidu, finishes his tenure. When Dhankar submitted his candidacy, BJP president JP Nadda, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, and Nitin Gadkari were all there. It is significant to remember that members of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha make up the electoral college that chooses the Vice President of India, the second-highest constitutional position in the nation.