Jagdeep Dhankhar is a former Indian BJP politician and lawyer, who became the 28th governor of West Bengal in 2019. In July 2022, he came into the limelight after being selected by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as its Vice Presidential candidate.
Chaudhary Jagdeep Dhankhar was born on Friday, 18 May 1951 (age 71 years; as of 2022) in Kithana, Jhunjhunu District, Rajasthan. He completed his primary schooling at Government Primary School, Kithana, after which he appeared for an all-India examination and joined Sainik School at Chittorgarh. Jagdeep Dhankhar completed his graduation in B.Sc (Honours) Physics from Maharaja’s College, Jaipur. He then went on to pursue a degree in LLB from the University of Rajasthan. He completed his formal education in 1979.
Height (approx.): 6′ 0″
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Jagdeep Dhankhar belongs to a Rajasthani Jat family.
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name was Chaudhary Gokal Chand. His mother’s name was Kesari Devi. He has two brothers, Randeep Dhankhar and Kuldeep Dhankhar, and a sister, Indra Dhankhar.
Randeep Dhankhar (in middle) being congratulated after the nomination of his brother Jagdeep Dhankhar
His brother Kuldeep Dhankhar is a politician.
Jagdeep Dhankhar’s brother Kuldeep Dhankhar
Wife & Children
His wife, Dr Sudesh Dhankhar, is a PhD in Economics.
Sudesh Dhankar, wife of Jagdeep Dhankhar
His daughter’s name is Kamna Dhankhar.
Jagdeep Dhankhar with his daughter Kamna Dhankhar
Jagdeep Dhankhar is a Jat.
His permanent address is Vill. & P.O. Kithana, District Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.
Signature of Jagdeep Dhankhar
In 1979, after earning a degree in LLB, Jagdeep Dhankhar began practising law in Rajasthan. Jagdeep was enrolled as an advocate in the Bar Council of Rajasthan on 10 November 1979. In 1987, after being appointed as the President of the Rajasthan High Court Bar Association, Jagdeep Dhankhar became the youngest person ever to have held the post. In 1990, Jagdeep Dhankhar began practising law in India’s apex court, the Supreme Court. There, he specialised in PILs related to Steel, Coal, Mine, and International Commercial Arbitration. As a Supreme Court lawyer, he has fought several cases at different states’ High Courts. On 27 March 1990, Jagdeep Dhankhar became a senior advocate in the Rajasthan High Court. He held the post until 2019.
Jagdeep Dhankhar’s stint in politics began in 1988 when he joined the Janata Dal (JD). In 1989, he contested and won the 9th Lok Sabha elections and became a member of parliament from the Jhunjhunu constituency of Rajasthan. From April 1990 to November 1990, Jagdeep Dhankhar held the post of Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Affairs. As a Deputy Minister, Jagdeep Dhankhar was given additional charge of a chairman of three parliamentary committees. These were the Committee on Absence of Members from the Sittings of the House, General Purposes Committee, and Committee of Privileges. In 1991, Jagdeep Dhankhar quit his Lok Sabha membership and joined the Indian National Congress (INC). From 1993 to 1998, Jagdeep Dhankhar remained a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from the Kishangarh constituency after winning a seat in the 10th Rajasthan Legislative Assembly elections. In 2003, Jagdeep Dhankhar left the Indian National Congress and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In 2008, Jagdeep was made a member of the party’s assembly election campaign committee. Jagdeep Dhankhar, in 2016, was made the national convener of the BJP’s law and legal affairs department. In 2015, he supported the Jat reservation movement in Rajasthan; demanding OBC status and its quota for the Jat community of Rajasthan. On 20 July 2019, Jagdeep Dhankhar was appointed as the 28th governor of West Bengal.
Jagdeep Dhankar’s swearing-in ceremony as the 28th governor of West Bengal
In July 2022, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) announced that Jagdeep Dhankhar was their Vice-Presidential candidate.
Blame game with Mamata Banerjee
Ever since his appointment as the governor of West Bengal, Jagdeep Dhankhar and Mamata Banerjee have often exchanged allegations against one another.
Jadavpur University case
In 2019, soon after taking oath as the governor, Jagdeep Dhankhar was denied entrance into the Jadavpur University by the Jadavpur Employee’s Association. The employee association was closely affiliated with the ruling state party, Trinamool Congress (TMC).
Inquiry against the Vice Chancellors of the West Bengal
In July 2020, when the Vice Chancellors of the state-affiliated universities failed to show up at the governor’s residence for a meeting, the Governor initiated an inquiry against the VCs. Seeking clarification over the issue, the governor wrote a letter to the CM of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee. Mamata, in return, accused the governor of initiating a baseless inquiry on the gestures of the BJP despite her already answering all of the governor’s queries. In an interview, Mamata said,
Despite being elected representatives, we are expected (by Governor) to behave like servants…and have to answer (him) every moment. We are in regular touch with the Governor — I spoke with him four times on Wednesday. What will the (state) government do: tackle the pandemic or continue answering his queries? Enough is enough.”
Jagdeep Dhankhar countered Mamata’s accusation by alleging that the Mamata-led state government was playing with the state’s educational affairs by creating “unwholesome situations,” which made it difficult for the educational machinery to function. While giving an interview, he said,
Education is the soul of a society, as it passes from one generation to another. It is unfortunate that in our state education is politically caged and controlled. The political grip on education is tightening — it will hurt students, the education scenario, and the society at large.”
Accused of violating electoral norms in West Bengal
In May 2021, Jagdeep Dhankhar was accused by Mamata Banerjee of violating electoral norms by visiting the areas severely affected by communal and political violence. The governor of the state responded to the allegations by stating that he was only doing his duty, in accordance with the constitution of India.
Getting blocked on Twitter
Following another spat between Mamata Banerjee and Jagdeep Dhankhar, in January 2022, the Chief Minister blocked Jagdeep Dhankhar on Twitter. In an interview, Mamata exclaimed,
I have been forced to block Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar on Twitter. Everyday he (Governor) was issuing tweets targeting and threatening govt officials as if we’re his bonded labourers.”
Accusing the government of West Bengal of promoting violence in the state
In March 2022, the governor of West Bengal accused Mamata and her party, TMC, of playing a part in the outbreak of political violence in the state. He further accused the CM of promoting “lawlessness” in West Bengal. The CM responded to the accusations by advising the governor to “refrain from making unwarranted statements and allow the administration to conduct an impartial probe.”
Day of jihad against BJP row
On 21 June 2022, Mamata Banerjee announced that every year 21 June would be celebrated as the “day of Jihad against BJP.” The governor, taking an immediate note, called the Chief Minister’s statement “authoritarian and undemocratic.” The governor expressed his disappointment on the issue by calling the statement “equivalent to a death knell for democracy and the rule of law.” He wrote a letter to the Chief Minister, asking her to correct the statement that she had given.
A letter written to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee by Jagdeep Dhankhar on the declaration of 21 July 2022 as Jihad against BJP
Making the CM a “by-default” Chancellor of the state-run universities
According to the constitution of India, the governor of a state becomes the Chancellor of a state-owned university. The West Bengal Legislative Assembly, in July 2022, passed a bill that made the Chief Minister a Chancellor of the state-run universities, instead of the governor. The bill also empowered the CM to appoint the Vice Chancellor of a university. Jagdeep Dhankhar alleged that Mamata Banerjee was trying to take the Calcutta High Court’s attention off the disparity found in the appointment of new teachers in the state-affiliated universities, which was pinpointed by the Calcutta High Court itself. After the bill was passed in the Legislative Assembly, the governor, in July 2022, appointed Mahua Mukherjee as the VC of Rabindra Bharati University (RBU). This decision of the governor was held undemocratic and unlawful by the West Bengal government. In its official statement, the state government stated,
The governor has once again proved that he does not believe in democratic principles and federalism. The Bill passed by the West Bengal Assembly to appoint the Chief Minister to the post of Chancellor of the state universities is awaited, while the Hon’ble Governor has announced one name as the Vice-Chancellor of RBU. He did not even consider it necessary to take the Education Minister and the Chief Minister into confidence before this announcement.”
As a governor of West Bengal, Jagdeep Dhankhar’s salary is Rs 1,10,000 + other allowances (as of July 2022).
- In an interview, Jagdeep Dhankhar once claimed that when he was in class 6th, he used to travel 5 to 6 kilometres every day to reach his school.
- Jagdeep Dhankhar likes to travel a lot. He has visited many foreign countries, such as the United States, Canada, the UK, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore, along with his family.
- Jagdeep Dhankhar has not only participated in political activities, but he has also participated in many social activities along with the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS).
- Jagdeep Dhankhar has been projected as “Kisan Putra” (son of a farmer) by the NDA, after being nominated as a Vice Presidential candidate.
- In July 2022, after NDA declared Jagdeep as its Vice President candidate, Saugata Ray, a TMC member of parliament, took a jibe at the nomination of the governor by calling it a relief for West Bengal’s state government. He further said that the governor was rewarded for being the “mouthpiece” of the BJP and that Jagdeep, as a governor of West Bengal, had always ensured to make the functioning of the state government difficult. In an interview, Saugata said,
Jagdeep Dhakhar was a constant trouble and disturbing element to the West Bengal government. Dhankhar’s nomination as vice-president is a reward for making the Bengal government’s life miserable. We are relieved that he has been nominated as vice president. Dhankhar has worked as a BJP spokesperson. His performance has been excellent as a BJP spokesperson and thus he has received the award.”
- Jagdeep Dhankhar, while serving as the President of the Rajasthan Olympic Association and the Rajasthan Tennis Association, played an important role in promoting sports in the state of Rajasthan.
- In 2022, Jagdeep Dhankhar was invited as a guest speaker to the India Today Conclave, where he talked in great detail about issues related to governance, constitutional violations by different state governments, communal patronage, and the prevalence of extortion mafias in the state.
Jagdeep Dhankhar as a guest in the India Today Conclave