From a cycle shop to a Cabinet slot, Virendra Kumar has had a stunning ride
Union minister for social justice and empowerment Virendra Kumar (left) with Ramdas Athavale, who is the minister of state in the same ministry. Photo: X |@Drvirendrakum13

From a cycle shop to a Cabinet slot, Virendra Kumar has had a stunning ride

Eight-time MP Virendra Kumar, who is Union minister for social justice and empowerment, used to work in his father's cycle shop in Sagar, MP. Today, he pursues an 'ordinary lifestyle' not forsaking his humble origins

Eight-time BJP MP Virendra Kumar, who continues as the minister of social justice and empowerment in the newly-formed Narendra Modi government, has certainly come a long way from fixing punctures in his father’s cycle repair shop in Sagar, Madhya Pradesh.

As a child, Kumar, who is today one of the senior MPs in Parliament, having been consistently elected to Parliament since 1996, used to help his father run his cycle repair shop in his hometown, Sagar.

Common man's leader

The 71-year-old politician, who won his fourth consecutive election from the Tikamgarh (SC) seat in the just-concluded Lok Sabha election, became a Union minister of state for the first time in 2017 in the Modi government. He was also Pro-tem speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha on June 17, 2019.

But this prominent Scheduled Caste face of the ruling BJP has not forgotten his roots and his humble beginnings, it seems.

According to his friends and fellow BJP leaders, whenever Kumar visits Sagar, and Tikamgarh, the minister will be spotted in tea shops seated with three or four people discussing their problems. This earned him the title of ‘common man’s leader’.

In an interview, Kumar admitted that he comes from an “ordinary family” and his lifestyle is still ordinary. He told NDTV that even though he has become a minister now, he washes his own clothes when he travels.

Further, he reflected that the (minister's post) is a short one but during this time, if they manage to connect with the common man, then society places its trust in them and the journey continues, he added, according to the report.

Notably, Kumar won by over 4 lakh votes this time, a much larger margin than any of his earlier seven wins.

Kumar finds a place in Modi’s 3.0 government once again, signalling the Prime Minister’s trust in him in what will be testing times for the government.

Political journey

Kumar completed his post-graduation in economics from Dr Hari Singh Gour University, Sagar (now a central university), and did his Phd in child labour.

Associated with the RSS since childhood, he started his political career as a convenor of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in Sagar in 1977.

Earlier, he participated in the 'Sampoorna Kranti Andolan' movement started by Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan in 1975 and went to jail for 16 months for protesting against the Emergency.

He contested and won his first Lok Sabha election in 1996 and has since won continuously for eight terms from Sagar and Tikamgarh (SC) constituency in MP.

Kumar got his big break in September 2017 when he was made the minister of state for women and child development in the first Modi government. Later, in 2021, he took over the ministry of social justice and empowerment.

As social justice minister, he has to address caste discrimination, SC/ST and OBC scholarship issues, and matters related to transgenders and people with disabilities.

Kumar has promised to give scholarships, build hostels and help different sections, including transgenders by building more shelters or Garima Grehs for them.

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