‘Fiery leader, gets carried away’ — DU alum with ABVP roots, Ramesh Bidhuri has history of outbursts

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New Delhi: Ramesh Bidhuri, the BJP MP from South Delhi who made communal comments against fellow parliamentarian Danish Ali of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the Lok Sabha last week is no stranger to controversies.

Bidhuri is a former member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students’ wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He worked for the Delhi BJP for years and won the assembly elections from Tughlakabad for three consecutive terms. 

His journey as a politician has been marked by various contentious incidents, including an apology as a rookie MP in 2014 and public confrontations with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal where he didn’t shy away from using abusive language.

While the Lok Sabha Speaker expunged his comments in the House last week and his party issued him a show cause notice, Bidhuri has not issued an apology so far. When asked by the media Friday, Bidhuri just said, “Speaker saab is looking into it.”

BJP MP Nishikant Dubey Saturday wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, where he said that Ali provoked Bidhuri by using “unpardonable” words against PM Modi.

Speaking about Bidhuri, former Delhi BJP office-bearer and political science professor at the Delhi University (DU), Rajvir Sharma, said “he can get carried away in emotions, but is a rooted politician otherwise”. 

“He helps people. His nature is fiery. He is a bit temperamental, but otherwise, as a human being, he is a good person… no matter how big a position a person holds, they should behave responsibly,” he added. “But Danish Ali also instigated him. He should not have given an instigating speech. Bidhuri sometimes gets carried away in emotions. Having said that, the language that he used cannot be justified.”

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Tughlakabad strongman

Bidhuri hails from an influential family with roots in Tughlakabad. His began his political journey as a student leader, earning a place on the executive council of the DU. His association with the ABVP began in 1983 during his college years at DU’s Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, from where he holds a BCom degree. He went on to earn a law degree from Meerut, according to details on his website.

He fought the Delhi assembly election from Tughlakabad on a BJP ticket in 1993 and 1998, but lost both times. In 2003, he registered a win for the first time, from the same seat, and went on to win the next two elections as well — in 2008 and 2013. 

In 2014, he got a Lok Sabha ticket from South Delhi constituency and defeated Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP’s) Devinder Sehrawat. In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he defeated AAP’s Raghav Chadha, who is now a Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab. 

No stranger to controversies 

In 2014, as a BJP candidate for the Lok Sabha polls, Bidhuri said at a conference that “30 percent Muslims harbour terrorists”, prompting his now party colleague Shehzad Poonawalla to file a complaint against him with the National Commission for Minorities, the Election Commission of India, and the Delhi Police Commissioner. ThePrint could not find any update on that complaint.

Soon after becoming an MP for the first time, Bidhuri came under scrutiny for his behaviour during ruckus in the Lok Sabha over a media report that some Shiv Sena MPs allegedly forced a fasting Muslim worker to eat at the Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi. Media reports said Bidhuri rushed into the well, flexing his muscles and telling some in the Opposition, “This is India. Go to…”.

He later apologised in the House when the then parliamentary affairs minister Venkaiah Naidu disapproved of his conduct.

In 2015, Ranjeet Ranjan, a Congress MP, officially raised a complaint with the then Lok Sabha Speaker, Sumitra Mahajan, alleging that Bidhuri used disrespectful language against her after the House had adjourned for the day.

Ranjan was accompanied by women MPs Supriya Sule from the NCP, Sushmita Dev from Congress (now with TMC), Arpita Ghosh from Trinamool, and P.K. Sreemathi Teacher from CPI(M). However, Bidhuri denied the allegations and media reports quoted him as blaming the complainant MPs for “taking advantage of being women”.

In 2016, Bidhuri hurled abuses at Kejriwal in a rally, a video of which is available on YouTube. 

In 2018, during the party’s Run for Unity event in the national capital, there were allegations that Bidhuri abused the district president and district co-incharge, for which the then party president, Manoj Tiwari, sought his response within 10 days. ThePrint could not find any details of Bidhuri’s reply to Tiwari but some media reports said at the time the two leaders did not see eye to eye.

In May 2019, while campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections, he again called Kejriwal names during a public meeting that was widely reported in the media. 

In 2021, at an RSS-backed event, Bidhuri said wherever “Muslims are in majority, there is violence. There is bloodshed.”

‘His own way’

Bidhuri’s party colleagues or those who have worked with him in the past say he has his “particular way of expression”. They contend that while his approach may be unconventional, it shouldn’t diminish the fact that he has consistently secured victories in the same constituency, Tughlaqabad, and then South Delhi. 

“I was in charge of his constituency during elections and I have seen how people were happy with the development work he undertook there. He has been elected by the people of Delhi three times as an MLA, and twice as an MP… Ultimately, in a democracy, the public voice matters. His election multiple times by the people of his constituency negates these allegations about him,” BJP Delhi general secretary Ashish Sood said to ThePrint.

Delhi BJP leader Harsh Malhotra, who has known Bidhuri for over 20 years now, since they worked at the district level, said, “He has his own way of working, but he cannot stand anything that is wrong. I don’t want to comment on what he said in Parliament, but he makes the point which he thinks is right.” 

(Edited by Smriti Sinha)

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