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Thaawarchand Gehlot a potential candidate for President

NewsThaawarchand Gehlot a potential candidate for President

Gehlot has worked with all leaders, across political parties, for more than 25 years.


New Delhi:The name of former Union Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot, who was one of the prominent Dalit faces of the Bharatiya Janata Party before he became Governor of Karnataka, is being discussed as the next President of India, several senior BJP leaders have told this newspaper.
The tenure of the present President, Ram Nath Kovind, who too is a Dalit, ends in July 2022. The tenure of the Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu ends in August.
The 73-year-old Gehlot, who belongs to Rupeta village of Nagda, Ujjain in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh has had a rich political experience with the BJP and had represented the now dissolved Shajapur Lok Sabha seat four times—in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2004.
He belongs to the Scheduled Caste of Balai, which has been engaged in weaving traditionally. The Balais are found in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Delhi.
He was later sent to the Rajya Sabha twice and was appointed as the Leader of House, a position in which he worked till July 2021.
Gehlot served in both the Narendra Modi governments of 2014 and 2019 as Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment before being appointed as Karnataka Governor in July 2021.
He became an MLA first from Alot seat in 1980. Later he was appointed as a minister in the 1990-92 Sunderlal Patwa Cabinet after winning again from the same seat. He repeated the performance by winning from Alot again in the 1993 elections.
The appointment of Gehlot, if it is finalised, will give a strong political message to the substantial number of Dalit and the OBC voters of the country before the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The move will also be a part of the Dalit outreach efforts launched by the BJP in the last few years. BJP strategists believe that once his name is announced, other parties too will come on board as opposing the candidature of a Dalit for the post of President will be a political blunder.
In the 2017 presidential elections, in response to Kovind, the Congress led UPA had put up former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar as their nominee, who like Kovind too belongs to the Scheduled Caste. Kovind defeated Kumar by a margin of 31% votes.
Unlike Ram Nath Kovind, who had little political experience, Gehlot has worked with all leaders, across political parties, for more than 25 years and his candidature is unlikely to generate much of an opposition from the fence-sitters, either parties or MPs.
Gehlot, who has maintained a clean public image, is known for taking along everyone. When he was Union Minister, he ensured that the development work originating from his ministry took place also in the constituencies of opposition party leaders.

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