IITians are present in many fields- there are IITians who became politicians, CEOs, scientists or a load of other things. This is because IITs helps in the all round development of a student. Politics is a field which the youngsters don’t find appealing. But thanks to the sometimes politically charged atmosphere inside IITs, some end up polishing their political skills mightily! Some IITians seized this opportunity and became national leaders. Let’s have a look at some of the IITians who became politicians.
IITians Who Became Politicians:
- Manohar Parrikar(’78 batch of IIT Bombay)
“A terrorist coming to India with a gun should not expect human rights. If required, we will neutralise terrorists with terrorists. Our Army of 13 lakhs is not to preach peace.”
These are the words of the current Defence Minister of India. Known for his swift and decisive decisions, Manohar Parrikar is a politician from Bhartiya Janta Party. He has also served as the Chief Minister of Goa from 2000-05 and 2012-14. Currently he is a member of Rajya Sabha from Uttar Pradesh. He graduated in metallurgical engineering from IIT Bombay in 1978. He was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2001 by IIT Bombay. Parrikar has proved to be one of the most pro-active and upfront ministers in the Modi cabinet. He clinched the Rafale Deal which was in deep freeze for almost a decade. He has carried his no-nonsense image to the Ministry of Defence which is why the efficiency of the whole department has gone up significantly. Manohar Parrikar was known to travel by his bicycle to Goa Vidhan Sabha. He refused all government benefits after becoming chief minister. He is the first IITian to become the Chief Minister of an Indian state. He is one of the most prominent IITians who became politicians.
- Arvind Kejriwal(’89 batch of IIT Kharagpur)
The credit of transforming the Indian politics goes to this man. Arvind Kejriwal has always raised voice against corruption. He graduated in Mechanical engineering from IIT Kharagpur in 1989. His father, a pass out of Birla Institute of Technology(Mesra), was also an engineer. He joined Tata Steel in 1989 and was posted in Jamshedpur. He resigned in 1992, having taken leave to prepare for Civil Services Examinations. Kejriwal joined the IRS as an Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax in 1995 after qualifying through the Civil Services Examination. In February 2006, he resigned from his position as Joint Commissioner of Income Tax in New Delhi. Presently, he is also the National convener of Aam Aadmi Party. Kejriwal led AAP to win 67 of the 70 constituencies in the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections, leaving the BJP with three seats and the INC with none. He is one of the most visible IITians who became politicians. As a testament to this fact, Kejriwal was featured in the TIME’s list of 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2014.
- Jairam Ramesh(’75 batch of IIT Bombay)
Jairam Ramesh is an Indian economist and politician belonging to Indian National Congress. Ramesh graduated from IIT Bombay in 1975 with a B.tech in Mechanical Engineering. He is a Member of Parliament representing Andhra Pradesh state in the Rajya Sabha since June 2004. In July 2011, Jairam Ramesh was elevated to the Union Council of Ministers of India. He was appointed Minister of Rural Development and Minister (additional charge) of the new Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. From 1975–77, he studied at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College and received a Master of Science in Public Policy and Public Management. In 1977–78, he joined the Doctoral program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He had planned to study technology policy, economics, engineering, and management, as part of the newly established interdisciplinary technology policy programme. Family exigencies required him to return to India and that program remained incomplete. He is a founding member of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad and a member of the International Council of the New York-based Asia Society. Ramesh has also been a Visiting Fellow and Affiliated Researcher of the Institute of Chinese Studies, New Delhi, since 2002. Jairam Ramesh was a member of the Core team of IIT Bombay’s cultural fest Mood Indigo in 1975.
- Ajit Singh(IIT Kharagpur)
Ajit Singh is the founder and chief of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, a political party recognized in western part of state of Uttar Pradesh. He is the son of former Prime Minister of India late Choudhary Charan Singh. He is a B.Sc. from Lucknow University, B.Tech. from IIT Kharagpur and M.S. from Illinois Institute of Technology. He was a computer scientist by profession. Ajit Singh was first elected to Rajya Sabha in 1986. He was the President of Lok Dal (A) and Janata Party during 1987 and 1988, respectively. In 1989, he was General Secretary of Janata Dal. He was elected to Lok Sabha from Baghpat in 1989. He was Minister of Industry in V. P. Singh’s cabinet from December 1989 to November 1990. He was re-elected to Lok Sabha in Indian general election, 1991. He briefly served as Minister of Food in P. V. Narasimha Rao’s cabinet. He was re-elected in 1996 but lost in 1998. From 2001 to 2003, he was Minister of Agriculture in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government. After his party joined the ruling United Progressive Alliance in 2011, he was Minister of Civil Aviation from December 2011 to May 2014.
- Gazal Kalra(2007 batch of IIT Delhi)
Gazal Kalra has worked as Parliamentary Associate in the office of Congress MP Naveen Jindal for almost two years. She completed her B.tech from IIT Delhi in 2007. She also has a joint degree from Stanford Graduate School of Business (MBA) and Harvard Kennedy School of Government (MPA). She has worked as a Business Analyst at Mckinsey & Company. Currently, she is working in Rivigo, of which she is one of the co-founder. Gazal loves exploring game changing ideas, building innovative products and services that fundamentally change the quality of life of people in India.
These were the IITians who became politicians. Similarly, there are many fields where IITians have gone and made a name for themselves, opening startups being one of them. Take a look at more such IITians here.