Malhotra’s long career and clean image didn’t work (Profile)

December 8th, 2008 - 8:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Dec 8 (IANS) Versatile personality, clean image and a political career spanning over 50 years. Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) chief ministerial candidate Vijay Kumar Malhotra boasted of all this. His party probably felt he could - and would - attract voters. But it did not work. Born 1931 in Lahore, 77-year-old Malhotra has been through the thick and thin of politics. Be it the violence at the time of partition, student politics or Parliament.

He was the founding member of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.

He started his political career in 1958, when he was elected member of the Delhi Municipal Corporation and within 10 years rose to become the chief executive councillor (Chief Minister in Protocol) in 1967, when he was just 35.

The five-time parliamentarian and deputy leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, Malhotra has faced many challenging tests in his political career.

He is not much into physical exercises but gets up early and takes a small walk in his garden followed by yoga for some time. He is not a strict vegetarian and prefers home cooked and less spicy food to maintain himself.

Among his colleagues, Malhotra is known as an assertive and knowledgeable person.

“He is quite knowledgeable and knows his subject inside out. He is also very strong about his culture and religion. Not only is he assertive but also has great management skills,” said Delhi BJP president Harshvardhan.

Some leaders, who did not wish to be identified, said he is rigid and it gets difficult at times to deal with him.

The BJP leaders might praise him but ever since the elections were announced, the Congress maintained that he was not fit to be the Delhi chief minister. It also said that he was being made a scapegoat.

“Malhotra was not an active member of the opposition and he was never made a minister during the BJP-led coalition’s rule at the centre and suddenly he was selected for the top post,” said senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal.

The BJP might deny it but he has never really had his share of power at the central level while younger leaders like Arun Jaitley are more prominent.

Malhotra was good at academics and has special interest in sports.

He finished his graduation at the young age of 18, having been twice promoted to a higher class due to his academic track record. He obtained his Masters in Hindi and doctorate in literature.

Malhotra started teaching when he was only 23 and has 35 years of teaching experience.

Known as an able sports administrator, he had ambitious plans for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi - if his party was voted to power.

The BJP leader evinces keen interest in works of history, mythology, Vedic literature and current affairs. He has read holy books like the Bhagwad Geeta, the Bible, the Quran and the Guru Granth Sahib.

Quite a family man, Malhotra spends quality time at home. He is fond of his grandchildren and enjoys playing table tennis and badminton with them. He likes to watch movies if he finds spare time.

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