Full access at just Rs 3/day

Journalism of Courage
Advertisement

Who is Rajendra Pal Gautam, AAP minister in eye of storm?

Before joining politics, he practiced law and was also a social activist, those who know him said

Gautam joined the Aam Aadmi Party in 2014 and fought assembly elections from Seemapuri constituency in 2015. (Twitter/@MissionJayBheem)

AAP minister Rajendra Pal Gautam, who finds himself facing demands of resignation by the BJP following an event where 10,000 people ‘converted’ to Buddhism, is known to maintain a low profile as compared to his cabinet colleagues.

But this isn’t the first time he is in the eye of a storm – in 2022, Gautam was divested of the Woman and Child Development portfolio amid widespread protests by anganwadi workers in the capital.

Gautam joined the Aam Aadmi Party in 2014 and fought assembly elections from Seemapuri constituency in 2015. He won from the seat again in the next assembly polls, and currently heads the Delhi government’s departments of Social Welfare, SC/ST Welfare, Registrar of Cooperatives and Gurudwara Elections.

He headed the social welfare department in the last term too, and one of Arvind Kejriwal government’s most ambitious programmes, Jai Bheem Mukhyamantri Pratiba Vikas Yojana, was started under his charge. Under it, free coaching for IIT JEE, NEET and other competitive exams is provided to children from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. About 4,900 students enrolled for the free coaching classes in the beginning, and currently around 15,000 are enrolled in various courses.

Subscriber Only Stories
Premium
Premium
Premium
Premium

Party colleagues informed that Gautam was born in Ghonda in Northeast Delhi. Before joining politics, he practiced law and was also a social activist. He completed law from Delhi University and also used to teach about 450 children from poor families, apart from working on reducing addiction among the youth, those who know him said.

He has also worked for upliftment and rights of Dalits, and was awarded the Samata Sainik Dal’s Dr Ambedkar Award in 2017. “He joined AAP after being impressed by Kejriwal’s ideology in 2014, and fought the elections in 2015,” said a party member.

Rajendra Pal Gautam (3rd from left) is seen at the ‘Deeksha Samaroh’ held in Delhi repeating the vows with close to 10,000 people who accepted Buddhism. (Twitter/@AdvRajendraPal)

He also used to run an NGO called Partivartan and currently he runs an organisation called ‘Mission Jai Bhim’. The October 5 event at Ambedkar Bhavan, which is now at the centre of a row, was also held under the aegis of ‘Mission Jai Bhim’, as per a tweet by Gautam. “Today… more than 10,000 intellectuals took a pledge to make India free of caste and untouchability,” he wrote.

Advertisement

At the event, Gautam is seen on stage as attendees take an oath that they would not pray to Hindu gods and goddesses such as Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Rama, Krishna, Gauri and Ganpati. These are part of the 22 vows B R Ambedkar had administered to his followers.

“If I believe in Buddhism, what is wrong with that? If the BJP has to complain, they can. The Constitution of India gives us the freedom to follow any religion. The BJP is losing ground and it is afraid of the Aam Aadmi Party,” he said later.

First published on: 07-10-2022 at 09:00:03 pm
Next Story

Delhi: Man kills father, injures mother over their refusal to lend him money

Tags:
Home
ePaper
Next Story
close
X