Former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi is the joint opposition’s nominee for the post of vice president. Gandhi’s name was the only name discussed by the 18 opposition parties who met today to select their candidate for the vice presidential elections. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, her deputy Rahul Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, TMC’s Derek O’Brien, CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, SP’s Naresh Agarwal, NC’s Omar Abdullah, JD(S)’ Deve Gowda, BSP’s Satish Chandra Mishra and RLD’s Ajit Singh were among those who attended the meeting. JD(U) MP Sharad Yadav was also present in the meeting. Notedly, his party had broken ranks with the opposition over the presidential election.
Here are seven things you should know about Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
1) A former IAS officer and a distinguished diplomat, Gandhi served as Secretary to the President of India and as High Commissioner to South Africa and Sri Lanka and the Ambassador of India to Norway and Iceland — before he became the governor of West Bengal.
2) He is a product of prestigious St. Stephen’s College in Delhi University, and graduated with Masters degree in English Literature.
3) While his grandfather was Mahatma Gandhi is a common knowledge but not many know that his maternal grandfather was C Rajgopalachari, the last governor general of India.
4) Gopalkrishna Gandhi served as the 22nd Governor of West Bengal from 2004 to 2009. During his stint his remark on farmer agitation in Bengal that the spiralling violence filled him with “cold horror”, predictably earned him the ire of then Left government. It’s not unusual for a serving Governor to criticise the ruling government.
5) He is said to have regularly travelled to the countryside in Bengal incognito, and served quietly in rural Gujarat’s earthquake relief work.
6) At present, 71 year old Gandhi is a Professor of Political Science and History at Ashoka University.
7) Gandhi has been quite vocal in his criticism against the instances of mob lynchings and communal discord. “I would like to assure that Akhlaq’s death will not go in vain, his death will remind us that violence cannot achieve anything.” he was quoted as saying to India today in 2015. In 2014 he called the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) the “government’s hatchet, rather than honesty’s ally”.
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