The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) ranks among one of the most esteemed engineering institutions in the world with its campuses all over India. Each year, millions of students attend coaching classes to crack the JEE examinations to get into IITs. Not just engineers, the IITs have also produced renowned scientists, entrepreneurs, and even economists. Besides this, IIT students have also made a mark in politics too.
Here are 6 successful politicians who are IIT alumni
Manohar Parrikar: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar is an alumnus of IIT-Bombay. He completed his graduation in metallurgical engineering in 1978. At a very young age, he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and continued working for the organisation after completing his engineering. Parrikar became the Goa CM for the first time in 2000 and served for two years before being re-elected. In 2005, his BJP government was reduced to a minority in the state Assembly and Parrikar was replaced by Pratapsinh Rane from the Congress. BJP was defeated in the 2007 Assembly polls but returned to power in 2012. Following the Narendra Modi-led BJP’s astounding majority in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Parrikar was elevated to the position of Defence Minister. After the Goa Assembly elections in 2017 produced a hung House, Parrikar returned as Goa CM on the insistance of the BJP allies.
Arvind Kejriwal: Born on August 16, 1968, Kejriwal graduated in mechanical engineering from IIT-Kharagpur and joined the civil services. He pursued a career as an Indian Revenue Services (IRS) officer for a brief period of time. A Ramon Magsaysay Award winner, Kejriwal joined the anti-corruption movement in 2011, which was led by Anna Hazare. A year later, he founded the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and was elected as its national convener.
Written off early by the opponents, Kejriwal-led AAP made a spectacular electoral debut in the 2013 Delhi Assembly polls when the newly-formed party won 28 out of 70 seats. The party founder himself defeated three-time CM Sheila Dikshit by more than 20,000 votes and formed the government with Congress’ support. However, he resigned from the post after 49 days. He contested the Lok Sabha elections against BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi from Varanasi but lost by a huge margin of more than three lakh votes. AAP sprung a surprise by winning 67 out of 70 seats in the 2015 Delhi Assembly polls.
Jairam Ramesh: A renowned economist and Congress MP, Jairam Ramesh is an alumnus of IIT Bombay. The Chikmagalur-born politician completed his BTech in mechanical engineering in 1975. After stints at the World Bank, Planning Commission, Ministry of Finance and other policy making bodies, he joined the Congress’ electoral strategy team for the 2004 Lok Sabha polls. After UPA came to power, he served as a minister in successive governments headed by Manmohan Singh.
Sudheendra Kulkarni: An alumnus of IIT Bombay, Sudheendra Kulkarni was a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) before he joined the BJP in 1996. He was a member of the India Shining campaign of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. However, he resigned from the party in 2009, citing the influence of the RSS in its policy making. In 2015, Kulkarni was attacked by Shiv Sena workers in Mumbai ahead of the launch of the book written by former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mehmud Kasuri. The Sena workers not only verbally abused him but also blackened his face with ink.
Ajit Singh: Son of former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh, Ajit Singh pursued his engineering from IIT Kharagpur and later completed an MS from Illinois Institute of Technology. The founder of Rashtriya Lok Dal served as a minister in governments headed by VP Singh, PV Narasimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh. He lost the 2014 Lok Sabha polls to Satya Pal Singh (BJP) from his stronghold of Baghpat.
Alok Agarwal: Alok Agarwal is the state convenor of Madhya Pradesh unit of Aam Aadmi Party. He completed his BTech in chemical engineering from IIT Kanpur before joining the Narmada Bachao Andolan. He joined AAP in 2014 and contested the Lok Sabha polls from Khandwa in MP. Agarwal is also the national spokesperson for the party.
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