After Winning Against Internal Rift And Upper-caste Anger, Arjun Ram Meghwal Retains Berth in Modi Cabinet
Meghwal, who grew up in a weaving community, formally entered politics in 2009 after resigning from the Indian Administrative Service and won the Bikaner seat on a BJP ticket the same year.
File photo of Arjun Ram Meghwal (PTI)
Former Union Minister and two-time MP from Bikaner, Arjun Ram Meghwal, has retained his position as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. He has also been given the charge as a Minister of State in Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises in Modi Cabinet 2.0 after scoring a hat-trick in the reserved constituency seat.
The 65-year-old served as the Union Minister of State in Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation and Parliamentary Affairs during Narendra Modi’s first term as Prime Minister.
Meghwal, who grew up in a weaving community, formally entered politics in 2009 after resigning from the Indian Administrative Service and won the Bikaner seat on a BJP ticket the same year. After being re-elected as MP from the same seat, he served as chief whip of the BJP in the 16th Lok Sabha and was also nominated as Chairman of House Committee, Lok Sabha. He was appointed Minister for Finance in 2016. In 2013, Meghwal received the “Best Parliamentarian” award.
He is known for not using the government-provided car to commute but instead using his bicycle to travel to places. He even cycled to his swearing-in as minister for state in 2016. Analysts see him as the BJP’s face for reserved castes in Rajasthan and Meghwal’s good track record and ability to influence Dalit voters may propel him toward a CM nomination in the stat after BJP’s dismal performance in the recent assembly elections.
The seat of Bikaner had been a BJP stronghold since 2004. After the delimitation process in 2009, the seat became reserved for scheduled castes and Meghwal was elected as MP. However, this time the former IAS officer faced a challenge not from the outside but within the party itself as senior BJP leader Devi Lal Bhati objected to Meghwal’s candidacy and even resigned, accusing the latter of being a “Congress agent”.
Despite Bhati’s negative campaigning and vocal support for Congress’s candidate, anti-incumbency, a rejuvenated opposition and alleged upper-caste anger against Meghwal after bands called by Dalit protesters last year, he won, albeit with a smaller margin than in 2014.
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