He is cut out for Speaker's profile

A confident but soft-spoken, Maninder Singh Dhir is the Aam Aadmi Party nominee for the Speaker’s post. On Friday he is to face an election on the floor of the House.

“We can’t comment on that. The situation is politically fluid,” said his associate Anil Goswami on his chances of becoming the Speaker. They were standing outside the Assembly waiting for a car.

“After swearing in, I felt good. I felt so good… coming to the Assembly, meeting so many people,”  Dhir said.

He is an AAP legislator from Jangpura  who won by less than 2,000 votes.
“It was a ‘Congress Raj’ for the last 25 years. For last 15 years, Congress’s Tarvinder Singh Marwah was the MLA,” he said, implying why his victory was significant.

Jangpura is a cluster of unauthorised colonies with a sizable Muslim-migrant population, Gujjars are traditional landlords.

“We never targeted any specific community,” he said, denying that he ever tried to target the traditional Congress vote bank. “We went to the voters like an ‘aam aadmi’.”

This 61-year-old, two-time presidential award winner had quit civil defence service in 2005 to become full-time social worker.

“If one has will power, one can do a lot of things in unauthorised colonies,” he said. However, he didn’t identify one social or infrastructural issue as the single biggest problem in his constituency .

“You get to know about problems when you start working,” Dhir said, pointing out that he organises ‘mohalla sabhas’ (public meetings) in his constituency.

Party philosophy

“When problems would come up, we would address it,” he added and stressed on his party’s philosophy of ‘democracy every day’.

 He said his interest in leadership roles has been since college days.

“I became cultural secretary, then secretary. When I joined services, I became the union secretary, and then I became secretary of officers’ association,” Dhir said.
Dhir enjoys his daily meal of dal-roti.

No holiday trip

After his son’s death in 2008, he said that he never went on a holiday trip. And, he said, his only preoccupation became social work.

“It was not difficult to contest election,” he said, explaining that experience in social service helped. 

He describes Chief Minister and AAP party chief Arvind Kejriwal as ‘innocent and nice’.
“We are like family members. When two honest people meet, you always feel great,” he said.

Dhir has previously worked with BJP and Akali Dal.

He said, “But I found only AAP honest.” He was also part of the Anna Hazare-led India Against Corruption.

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