Dr. Ashok Tanwar is a living example of pluralism and equality of opportunity that personifies the entire Congress Party. He started his political career as a student in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). As a Dalit youth, he was naturally aware of the inherent biases that exists in our society against the minorities and felt compelled to raise his voice for a sustainable political dialogue. Dr. Tanwar found the National Students Union of India (NSUI) and the Congress Party Student Wing, the latter being the most effective political platform for students. At the time of his joining, JNU was an educational institution with definite leftist leanings, and NSUI had only a small vote base there. From the beginning of his career, Dr. Tanwar believed in cadre building and channelizing the energies of the youth towards a movement for reform. To this end, he made his efforts and played a key role in expanding the support base of NSUI. His efforts bore fruit, and the vote share of NSUI in student union elections increased to new heights when Dr. Tanwar contested for the President’s post. These extraordinary results brought him to the notice of the senior leadership of the Congress and they gave him the opportunity to join the National Committee of NSUI in 2001. Once again the cadre-first philosophy of Dr. Tanwar bore fruit and his popularity as a student and youth leader rose to new heights. In 2003, he was appointed as the NSUI President. A Dalit youth with no political family background had reached this very important position by his hard work and dynamism and the ‘equal opportunity for all’ culture of the Congress Party.
As the President of the NSUI, Dr. Tanwar exhibited remarkable organizational capabilities. NSUI is a vibrant student wing of the oldest party in India and has students from all regions, groups and walks of life as members. Dr. Tanwar showed great sensitivity and skill in handling such a multi-dimensional group of young people; he is considered one of its most popular leaders. Under his leadership, NSUI consecutively won the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) election twice. NSUI’s performance in the Left dominated JNU also continued to improve during his tenure.
Dr. Tanwar’s remarkable success in handling the NSUI was noticed and appreciated by the leadership and in 2005. At the age of 28, he was appointed as the President of Indian Youth Congress (IYC). It is during his tenure as the President that the IYC undertook organizational reforms and heralded a culture of transparency and meritocracy. Under the leadership of Shri Rahul Gandhi, Dr. Tanwar constituted a team comprising of student and youth leaders and domain experts to strengthen the organization and undertook an unprecedented membership drive. He encouraged youth from all sections of the society to engage in politics and contribute positively to it. With Shri. Rahul Gandhi’s encouragement, he was also instrumental in initiating the highly effective “AamAadmiKaSipahi” program. This program encouraged the youth to directly engage with the common man of this country, specially the marginalized sections, and empower them with the knowledge and information of the policy benefits available and help them as much as possible to get these benefits. In this regard, the Youth Congress organization was provided training at all levels including the Gram Panchayat level, so that the benefit accrues to all.
After the remarkable response to Dr. Tanwar’s tenures as President of both the NSUI and IYC, Shri. Rahul Gandhi with the consent of the entire senior leadership, encouraged Dr. Tanwar to contest the SirsaLokSabha seat in 2009. Despite a very short notice, Dr. Tanwar won his maiden LokSabha election with a handsome margin. He became the youngest Dalit MP of the 15th LokSabha, and was named the Convener of the Parliamentary Forum on Youth.
As a first-time Member of Parliament, Dr. Tanwar raised problems related to the empowerment of the poor and disadvantaged sections of the society - issues close to his heart - at Parliamentary forums time and again. He was selected for The India-Yale Parliamentary Leadership Program in 2011 and Chevening Scholarship in 2013. During his stint as an MP, DrTanwar was Member of Library Committee, Member of the Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on office of Profit, Member of the Public Accounts Committee and Member of the PAC Sub-Committee-II (Railways). He was also the member of important Standing Committees on Railways and HRD as well as the Vice-Chairman of Indo-Pak Parliamentary Forum.
Dr. Tanwar is committed to the empowerment of the marginalized and to the engagement of youth in politics. He is one of the most popular youth leaders of the country from the Congress Party and a clear example of the “equal opportunity culture” created by Sh. Rahul Gandhi.
Childhood:He was born on February 12th, 1976 in the village Chimni of Jhajjar district in Haryana to Dilbagh Singh and Krishna Rathi. His father was in the Indian Army and mother was a home-maker. After finishing his primary education from a nearby school, he was put in ShambhuDayal School at Sonepat. This is where he got a strong and healthy foundation for future.
Education:Dr. Tanwar completed his graduation from the Kakatiya University in Warangal in 1996 and later joined the centre for historical studies of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and completed his M.A., M.Phil&Ph.D in Medieval Indian History from there.
Spouse:Mrs. AvantikaMakenTanwar, daughter of Late Sh. LalitMaken and Late Smt. GeentanjaliMaken. They have two sons and a daughter.