• Wednesday, October 05, 2022

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Jagdeep Dhankhar, a farmer’s son, takes oath as India vice president

Indian vice president Jagdeep Dhankhar pays tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat, Delhi, on Thursday, August 11, 2022. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday (11) took oath as the 14th vice president of India. He succeeded Venkaiah Naidu who served since 2017.

President Droupadi Murmu, who also took charge recently, administered the oath of office of vice president to Dhankhar at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. The vice president is also the ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha or Upper House of the Indian parliament. Dhankhar offered prayers at the Raj Ghat, a memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi, in Delhi, on Thursday.

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Dhankhar, backed by the National Democratic Alliance led by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was elected as the vice president on August 6 after comprehensively defeating Opposition candidate Margaret Alva. Dhankhar received 528 votes as against Alva’s 182.

On August 7, India’s chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar and election commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey jointly signed the ‘Certification of the Election of Jagdeep Dhankar as the next Vice President of India’.

Dhankhar secured more than 74 per cent of the ballots cast in the vice presidential election and recorded the highest winning margin in all elections held since 1997.

Born on May 18, 1951, in an agrarian household in a village in Jhunjhunu district of the north-western Indian state of Rajasthan, Dhankhar completed his school education from Sainik School in Chittorgarh in Rajasthan.

After finishing his graduation in physics, he pursued law from the University of Rajasthan. Despite being a first-generation professional, he became one of the leading lawyers in the state.

Dhankhar has practised in both the Rajasthan High Court and the Supreme Court of India. He entered public life after getting elected as a member of parliament from Jhunjhunu in the 1989 Lok Sabha elections on a Janata Dal ticket. He also served as a minister of state for parliamentary Affairs in 1990. His politics was initially influenced by India’s former deputy prime minister Devi Lal.

Dhankhar, who belongs to the influential Jat community, later shifted focus to state politics and was elected to the Rajasthan Assembly in 1993 from the Kishangarh constituency in Ajmer district of his home state.

In 2019, Dhankhar was appointed as the governor of the state of West Bengal, which is ruled by the Trinamool Congress, one of India’s major anti-BJP parties. He resigned from the post on July 17 after the NDA picked him as the vice presidential nominee.

The vice president of India, which is the country’s second-highest constitutional post, is elected through an electoral college consisting of members of both the Houses of the parliament.

[With agency inputs]

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