The enigma called Shankar Chaudhary, Gujarat’s next speaker

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The Enigma Called Shankar Chaudhary, Gujarat’s Next Speaker

| Updated: December 19, 2022 20:12

Considering the numbers in the Gujarat Assembly, Shankar Chaudhary and Jetha Bharwad, who filed nominations on Monday for the post of speaker and deputy speaker, are set to win the respective posts in case an election takes place. Speakers are generally elected unopposed.

BJP leader Chaudhary, who represents the Tharad seat in Banaskantha district, had served as a minister in the government led by Anandiben Patel. He lost the elections in 2017 from Vav seat but came back strongly in 2022, defeating Gulab Singh Rajput of the Congress by 26,506 votes.

As a formality, Chaudhary resigned from the BJP on Monday as the Speaker is supposed to be non-partisan and not belong to any party.


Shankar Chaudhary is a major OBC face in north Gujarat and has an influential role in the cooperative sector. Fifty-two-year-old Chaudhary came into the limelight when he contested on a BJP ticket from Radhanpur in 1997 against party rebel and chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela.

Former Chief Minister Shankar Singh Vaghela

This by-election became a matter of prestige for both the BJP and ‘Bapu’ Vaghela, who got a fight for his life in the form of a 27-year-old man named Shankar Chaudhary. Vaghela eventually won by over 13,000 votes, but Chaudhary’s political career got launched.

Chaudhary entered the state Assembly the very next year, in 1998. He would be a permanent face in the Assembly till 2017 when he lost from Vav.

The BJP knows that Chaudhary can manipulate dairy politics. What sugar mills are to Maharashtra, the dairies are to Gujarat. And the entire state knows Chaudhary’s hold over the Banaskantha District Cooperative Milk Union of which he is the president. 

Home Minister Amit Shah

Such is the importance of Chaudhary that none other than Amit Shah, India’s Home Minister, said during the campaigning that Chaudhary will “get a big post” if elected with a huge margin.


In 2012, when Narendra Modi was the chief minister, the two men who will now be Speaker and Deputy Speaker — Shankar Chaudhary and Jetha Bharwad – found themselves in a major controversy over allegations of watching porn on their phones in the Assembly.

A full-fledged inquiry was launched and the phones were sent for forensic tests. Eventually, both Chaudhary and Bharwad got clean chits.

The opposition has also questioned Chaudhary’s educational qualifications. In 2007, he declared SSC as his educational qualification. In 2012, he mentioned SSC, HSC and MBA from a private institution as his qualifications. By the time he filed the 2012 affidavit, he added DBA as his qualification for reporting.

Shankar Chowdhary with daughters

As per his submission, he cleared SSC in 1987, HSC in 2011, MBA in 2009 and DBA in 2007. There is no mention of his graduation details. Surprisingly, he claims to have received his MBA degree prior to his HSC certification, which is chronologically problematic.

In the affidavit filed for this year’s Assembly elections, he mentioned only one educational degree – an MA from Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University. Though, the record still remained silent about his graduation degree.

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