‘Cycle wala MP’ harps on ‘madhur rishte’ between executive and judiciary


Bureaucrat-turned-politician Arjun Ram Meghwal, who began his career as a telephone operator and is popularly known as ‘cycle wala MP’, was on Thursday given the responsibility of the ministry of law and justice. Meghwal replaces Kiren Rijiju, the fifth such change during the nine years of the Modi government.

Interestingly, no Union minister in the BJP-led government at the Centre – either during the terms of Atal Bihari Vajpayee or Narendra Modi – has stayed as law and justice minister for a complete term. After assuming charge on Thursday, Meghwal talked about the ‘madhur rishte’ (sweet relations) between the executive and the judiciary.

When the announcement was made, Meghwal was at Pragati Maidan to attend a culture ministry programme, in which PM Modi was to attend. Before joining the ministry, Meghwal went and met his predecessor Rijiju. Thereafter, he took charge of the ministry and attended introductory meetings of the ministry on the very first day.

Meghwal, who entered the Rajasthan state civil services while pursuing his LLB studies, becomes another law and justice minister after Rijiju, who has studied law but is not a practising lawyer. Many see in his appointment PM Modi’s trust in bureaucrat-turned-politicians handling crucial ministries.

What seems to have worked in his favour is the fact that he is a simple, disciplined party worker who always followed the BJP high command and enjoys the support of RSS. After being promoted to IAS, Meghwal took voluntary retirement in 2009, and joined BJP and contested the Lok Sabha election in the same year from Bikaner.

During the tenure of the ongoing 17th Lok Sabha, which witnessed the passage of some crucial legislation such as the abrogation of Article 370, the Citizenship Amendment Act and others, Meghwal’s knowledge of legislative business came handy. He also displayed his skill as an effective manager in floor management.

After BJP came back to power in 2014, Meghwal was appointed as chief whip in 2015 after Ananth Kumar assumed charge of the parliamentary affairs ministry. After getting elected as MP in 2009, Meghwal used to cycle to Parliament in Rajasthani-style Kurta Dhoti sporting a pagdi on his head bearing the colours of BJP flag. He even plays badminton at his residence in dhoti and kurta. The badminton court usually buzzes with action in the evenings with several Union ministers playing badminton.Meghwal is also known to sing Kabir’s bhajans. Born into a family of weavers in Kishmidesar village of Bikaner district, he is a Dalit. Dalits form a considerable percentage of voters in Rajasthan, which is going to polls later this year.


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