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Who is Thaawarchand Gehlot? Meet BJP’s top Dalit face appointed as Karnataka Governor

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New Delhi, July 06: Union Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot who was appointed as Karnataka Governor on Tuesday said that he will try to resolve issues within constitutional limits and by discussing them soon after he was appointed as Karnataka Governor.

Who is Thaawarchand Gehlot? Meet BJP’s top Dalit face who is now the new Karnataka Governor

"President Kovind and PM Modi have shown faith in me and have appointed me as Karnataka Governor. I'll live up to their expectation and do my job faithfully. I'll try to resolve the issues within constitutional limits and with discussions. I will be submitting my resignation from all three positions, including Rajya Sabha MP and Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment, tomorrow in person," said the Karnataka Governor Designate.

The 73-year-old Gehlot, a Rajya Sabha member from Madhya Pradesh, was among the eight new governors appointed by President Ram Nath Kovind.

Who is Thawarchand Gehlot?

Considered close to the PM and an old BJP loyalist, Gehlot is the most recognisable face for scheduled castes in the Modi government.

Thawar Chand Gehlot was appointed as the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment during the Modi government's first stint in 2014.

As a minister, Thawar Chand Gehlot scripted several schemes for the welfare of the deprived sections of the society as well as for the physically-challenged people.

Born in Rupeta village in Nagda tehsil of Ujjain district on May 18, 1948, Gehlot graduated from Vikram University, Ujjain.

Thawar Chand Gehlot represented the Shajapur Lok Sabha seat between 1996 and 2009. Following delimitation, Shajapur constituency ceased to exist and Dewas constituency came into being in 2008.

In 2009, Thawar Chand Gehlot lost the Lok Sabha poll to Congress leader Sajjan Singh Verma, who is currently a minister in the Kamal Nath-led Madhya Pradesh government.

The BJP leader became a Rajya Sabha member in 2012 and was re-elected to the Upper House of Parliament from Madhya Pradesh in 2018. His Rajya Sabha term will end in 2024.

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Considered close to Modi, Thawar Chand Gehlot, one of the most noticeable faces from the Scheduled Caste (SC), was earlier deputed as the central observer for BJP in Gujarat.

Thawar Chand Gehlot was also the general secretary in-charge of the BJP in the national capital as well as Karnataka, and also headed the party's Scheduled Caste cell.Perhaps what makes Gehlot among the party's most 'grounded' ministers is his background of having worked as a labourer.

As per his profile on his ministry's website, he had "worked as a labour in Grasim Industries" during 1965-70, as a treasurer in Grasim Engineering Shramik Sangh and as the secretary of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh-affiliated Chemical Shramik Sangh from 1967-75.

Gehlot had been to jail several times between 1968 and 1971 for raising workers' issues as well as during the Emergency in the 1970s.

As minister for social justice and empowerment in the previous Modi cabinet, he was caught in a controversy over the government's move to amend the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Experience: 1. Minister for social justice and empowerment (2014-19) 2. LS member from Madhya Pradesh (1996-2009).

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His appointment as Governor comes at time when there is a talk of a leadership change in Karnataka which is yet to have any bearing on the stability of the two-year-old government whose future remains under a cloud of uncertainty.

Recently, amid speculations about a leadership change, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said he will continue in the top post as long as the BJP high command has confidence in him.

The Chief Minister also said he won't agree that there was no alternative leader in the state BJP to replace him. However, following the statement, several legislators and Ministers considered close to Yediyurappa rallied around him, questioning the need for leadership change, and asserted that he would complete the term and even lead the party during the next polls two years away.

This is probably the first time the 78-year old Lingayat strongman has spoken in detail on the issue of leadership change and on an alternative leader to replace him in the state BJP, ever since speculations began in this regard.

While a section in the state BJP sees the CM''s statement as an indication that he may have got some signals from the high command that he may have to step down soon, others in the party feel that this may be part of Yediyurappa''s strategy to show his strength to detractors and top brass, as several MLAs and Ministers were seen coming out in his support today.

Speculations have been rife for some time that efforts were on within a section of the ruling BJP to exert pressure for unseating Yediyurappa.

The recent visit by Tourism Minister C P Yogeeshwara and Hubballi-Dharwad West MLA Arvind Bellad to Delhi, reportedly to meet the high command and express the feelings of some legislators against Yediyurappa's style of functioning and request them to rein in the Chief Minister had given credibility to such speculation.

Also, citing certain government decisions,handling of the COVID crisis and alleged instances of corruption, some MLAs were said to be pushing for a legislature party meeting.

Earlier too there has been intense speculation that the BJP high command was mulling a leadership change in Karnataka in the days to come, considering Yediyurappa's advancing age. There is an unwritten rule in the BJP that leaders above 75 years should not hold ministerial positions.

Though BJP had officially rejected outright such speculation in the past, it refuses to die down,with some like senior MLA Yatnal giving credence to it with his statements, setting repeated ''deadlines'' for Yediyurappa's exit.

Meanwhile, terming it as the ruling party''s internal matter, state Congress chief D K Shivakumar called Yediyurappa a "strong man" of BJP in Karnataka and said it was under his leadership that the party got 104 seats and formed the government with the help of disgruntled Congress-JD(S) MLAs.

He also said there was no discipline in that party as no action was taken despite open personal attacks against the CM.

It should be noted that in India, the Governor of a state enjoys three kinds ofpowers namely executive powers, legislative powers and discretionary powers. The Executive powers of the Governor empower him to administrate, appoint and remove. It works as follows.

However, Gehlot's appointment will be an interesting thing to watch out for with the latest developmment.

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