New Delhi: Vijay Sampla, who was once a plumber, scaled new heights today with his induction in the Narendra Modi ministry that is apparently aimed at 2017 Assembly polls in Punjab where the BJP hopes to play the Dalit card to woo the Scheduled Caste community.
After SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal, 53-year-old Sampla, a prominent Dalit leader and a first-time MP, is the second Lok Sabha MP from Punjab to become a Union Minister. Sampla won the recent Lok Sabha elections from the reserved Hoshiarpur seat,
The BJP had contested the 2012 assembly elections along with Shiromani Akali Dal led by Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal but following its victory in Assembly polls in neighbouring Haryana there is speculation in political circles that BJP may seek a larger share of seats in Punjab or could even go it alone.
Sampla is a matriculate who had in the past worked in the Gulf as a plumber before setting up his own business in Punjab.
Sampla began his political journey after being elected Sarpanch of his village and has also held several important positions in the state BJP unit including having been its Vice President. He also has been the Chairman of Punjab State Forest Development Corporation and also the Chairman of Punjab State Khadi and Village Industry Board.