Aam Aadmi Party's Gopal Rai will be contesting from Babarpur Assembly constituency for the third consecutive time. Currently, Rai is a Cabinet minister in the Arvind Kejriwal led-government holding the portfolios of employment, development, labour, general administration department, irrigation and flood control.
A member of the political affairs committee and national executive of the AAP, Rai began his public life as an AISA-affiliated student activist at Lucknow University. As a result of his activism, Rai was once shot at, leading to him suffering some injuries which left him partially paralysed.
Known as a fiery orator, Rai is also credited with building the party’s base in the National Capital before the historic 2015 Assembly elections. Along with chief minister Kejriwal and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, Rai was at the forefront of the Jan Lokpal movement. He was in the eye of a storm in December 2013, when he got into a verbal spat with now Union minister General (retd) VK Singh over the Jan Lokpal Bill.
One of the founding members of the party, Rai contested the 2013 Assembly election from Babarpur but lost to BJP veteran Naresh Gaur. He, however, made a comeback in the 2015 election by winning the seat comfortably.
In 2016, he resigned as the transport minister after facing charges of corruption in the ambitious app-based premium bus service scheme. While he denied any wrongdoing and insisted that the decision was taken in consultation with other stakeholders, he resigned citing health issues. However, he continues to hold the labour and rural development ministry.
In 2017, he was made the convenor of Delhi unit of the AAP, with an eye on strengthening the party structure in the Union Territory after the debacle in the MCD polls. As the labour minister, Rai is credited with increasing the minimum wages in Delhi. The minimum wages for unskilled persons are now Rs 14,052, with those for semi-skilled and skilled persons at Rs 15,471 and Rs 17,033 respectively.
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Updated Date: Feb 11, 2020 12:09:00 IST