Vijay Sampla's journey - From plumber to Minister

This can happen only in BJP. It is a story of rise of common man. From a labourer in Jalandhar to a plumber in Saudi Arabia to a Minister of State in Narendra Modi Cabinet, Vijay Sampla has seen it all.

53-year-old Sampla, a first-time MP from Punjab, has been inducted as a Minister of State forSocial Justice & Empowerment in the Union Cabinet. He is the second Lok Sabha MP from the State to become a Union Minister after SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal. Sampla won the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Hoshiarpur Parliamentary constituency.  He defeated former Congress candidate Mohinder Singh Kaypee by a margin of 13,000 votes.

Born in a poor Dalit family, Sampla worked as a labourer in Jalandhar at the age of 14. Sampla, a matriculate, moved to Saudi Arabia to work as a plumber before setting up a small business back home in Jalandhar. It was the time when he got in touch with RSS. He frequently started attending RSS meetings and fought for Dalit rights.

I often recall one incident that shaped my life. While I was in Saudi Arabian city of Damam, I was asked to clean human excreta and repair a bathroom. I was young and flatly refused to do the cleaning part while telling the building owner that I was a plumber. On my insistence, the man put on plastic gloves and cleaned the muck himself. It taught me the difference between oppression against Dalits and the will to work, Times of India quoted Sampla as saying.

Sampla's political journey began in 1998 when he fought the Panchayat election and was elected as the as the Sarpanch of Sofi village in Jalandhar. Sampla joined the BJP in 1998. After successfully holding several posts in Punjab unit of BJP, Sampla rose to the position of State vice-president. He has been the chairman of Punjab Forest Development Corporation and also worked as the chairman of Punjab Khadi and Village Industry Board.

Sampla, a Dalit leader, belongs to the Ravidassia sect of Punjab. Ravidassias have a considerable hold in more than 11 Assembly segments in the State.

Courtesy Niti Central

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