AAM’s Somnath Bharti, lawyer-cum activist with IIT degree
New Delhi: A lawyer-turned activist with an IIT degree to boot, Somanth Bharti breached a Congress bastion by wresting power from three-time sitting MLA and high-profile former Delhi minister Kiran Walia from crucial Malviya Nagar constituency in South Delhi.
Among the several giant killers that the nascent party threw in Delhi elections, Bharti toppled former Education Minister and Women and Child Development Minister Walia.
39-year-old Bharti, among six MLAs, has been chosen to be part of the cabinet headed by Arvind Kejriwal, sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Delhi.
Making a stunning debut in the 70-member Assembly polls, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) riding on a strong “anti-incumbency” wave routed Congress’s 15-year-rule where its leader Kejriwal trounced three-time Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit by a margin of more than 25,000 votes.
After earning a Masters degree from the Indian Institute of Technology and a degree in law later, Bharti pursued a legal career.
As a lawyer, he fought for social causes through his profession and dragged issues dealing with societal matters to the court to bring them to justice.
An active member during Jan Lokpal movement, this IIT alumnus fought for justice for the innocent masses.
“After the Delhi gang-rape case, Delhi Police tried to falsely convict around eight innocent young boys, and Bharti fought for those boys and helped them get justice,” the AAP party website said.
Walia, an MA in political science from the Lady Shri Ram College here, held the Social Welfare portfolio in the previous Delhi government. She was upstaged by this first-timer whose one-year-old party fought the election on “pro-people, anti-corruption” poll plank.
Bharti, who has also served as a president of an IIT-alumni association, took oath as a cabinet minister at the historic Ramlila Maidan, the venue of anti-graft crusader Anna Hazare rallies, whose demands for passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill thrusted Kejriwal into national prominence before he took a plunge in mainstream politics.
The other cabinet ministers who took oath along with Kejriwal are Manish Sisodia, Rakhi Birla, Saurabh Bhardwaj, Girish Soni and Satendra Jain.