Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president J. P. Nadda on Saturday evening declared that West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar would be the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) candidate for the post of Vice President of India.
The announcement was made at a press conference after a meeting of the BJP’s parliamentary board, the party’s highest decision-making authority, which includes Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Roads and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
“BJP’s parliamentary board has come to the decision that we nominate ‘kisan putra’ (son of a farmer) Jagdeep Dhankhar as the NDA’s candidate for Vice President of India,” Mr. Nadda said after the meeting.
“We all know that Jagdeep Dhankhar jiis currently West Bengal Governor and has been in public life for over three decades. He belongs to a family of farmers and he overcame socio-economic hurdles in his life to go on to high achievement in public life,” Mr. Nadda said.
“He grew up in a village in Jhunjhunu district, and he studied in a village school and later in a Sainik School in Chittorgarh district. He later got a degree in Physics from Rajasthan University along with a degree in law. He is a first-generation professional as a lawyer, and in a very short time, he established himself as a meritorious lawyer in the Rajasthan High Court and later the Supreme Court as well. He fought the Lok Sabha polls in 1989 and was Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs in 1990. He also became an MLA from Kishangrah seat in Alwar district of Rajasthan,” Mr. Nadda said.
“We know that his image as a Governor has been that of a people’s Governor. All these things were kept in mind as the BJP nominated him to be the NDA nominee for the post of Vice President,” Mr. Nadda added.
He did not provide any further details on the nomination date etc. July 19 is the last date to file nominations.
As West Bengal Governor, Mr. Dhankhar has had several very public differences of opinion and run-ins with the Trinamool Congress-led (TMC) Mamata Banerjee government and has been steadfast in his views over his constitutional space as Governor.
Interestingly, Mr. Dhankhar, when elected as Vice President, will also be the Chairperson of the Rajya Sabha or Upper House of Parliament where Opposition parties have had run-ins with the Chair in the past, with the winter session of Parliament seeing the suspension of 12 MPs belonging to the opposition over what a government resolution termed “unruly and violent behaviour” during the previous monsoon session.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the announcement, tweeting: “Kisan Putra Jagdeep Dhankarji is known for his humility. He brings with him an illustrious legal, legislative and gubernatorial career. He has always worked for the well-being of farmers, youth, women and the marginalized. Glad that he will be our VP candidate.”
Polls for the post of Vice President will be held on August 6 and the results announced on the same day. The new Vice President will be sworn in on August 10. The electoral college for the Vice Presidential polls consists of both elected and nominated members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.