New Delhi, Jul 7 (PTI) Rising from a humble background and winning the Lok Sabha polls seven times from Madhya Pradesh, BJP MP Virendra Kumar Khatik has become the new Social Justice and Empowerment minister as he staged a comeback in the Union Council of Ministers after a gap of two years.
He replaced Thawar Chand Gehlot, who was appointed Karnataka governor ahead of the reshuffle on Wednesday.
Khatik staged a comeback in the Union Council of Ministers after a gap of two years. He has in the past served as Union Minister of State for Women and Child Development and Minority Affairs.
Rising from a humble background and winning the Lok Sabha polls seven times from Madhya Pradesh, Khatik, at a tender age, started assisting his father at his bicycle repair shop in Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh, but that did not deter him from pursuing higher education and dreaming big.
Khatik (67) later completed his Ph.D on a subject related to child labour and plunged into politics. A veteran Lok Sabha MP, his big break came in September 2017 when he was made the Minister of State for Women and Child Development in the first Modi government.
The main challenge lying ahead of him as the new Social Justice and Empowerment minister would be to deal with issues of the transgenders, elderly and the disabled population who are among the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the elderly battled high susceptibility to COVID-19, transgenders and the disabled population were hit by its social repercussions.
In a political career spanning decades, Khatik has made it to the Lok Sabha seven times -- four times from Sagar and three times from Tikmagarh. At present, he is the sitting MP from Tikamgarh.
Both Sagar and Tikamgarh are part of the impoverished Bundelkhand region of the state.
Despite his rise in politics, the BJP MP has never forgotten his humble roots and even today he loves to ride his Bajaj Super scooter and does not feel shy of mingling with those working at cycle repair shops in the region, a party leader close to him said.
'His father had a puncture repairing shop at Teen Batti square in Sagar town and he used to sit there to assist him in running the establishment, recalls BJP MLA Shailendra Jain.
'Khatik is known for his simplicity and rides a scooter in his current constituency even today. He feels that by doing so, people will consider him as one among them and would not hesitate to share their problems,' BJP's Tikamgarh district's general secretary Brijkishore Tiwari told PTI.
Born on February 27, 1954, Khatik was elected as an MP for the first time from Sagar in 1996 and later won the polls from the seat in 1998, 1999 and 2004.
He was elected from the Tikamgarh Lok Sabha seat in 2009, 2014 and 2019.
He was chosen as the Protem speaker of the 17th Lok Sabha on June 17, 2019.
From a young age, he was active in the RSS as a swayamsevak (volunteer) and also as a 'mukhya shikshak' (main teacher).
Khatik completed his education from Dr Hari Singh Gour University, Sagar (now a central university) and did his post-graduation in economics.
He was jailed for 16 months during the Emergency in 1975-77 and also took part in the 'Sampoorna Kranti Andolan' of Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan. PTI COR MAS RSY UZM KJ