Kapil Sibal
Kapil Sibal landing the HRD ministry

New Delhi: Kapil Sibal, who was appointed as the Union Minister of Human Resource Development on Thursday, likes to describe himself as a lawyer by profession and a politician by accident.

In his successful career as a lawyer, Sibal has pleaded cases for many a politician including RJD chief Lalu Prasad and AIADMK 
chief J Jayalalithaa.

He was also the Additional Solicitor General of India between December 1989-1990 but he shot to fame when he mounted a defence in Parliament of Supreme Court Justice V Ramasamy, the only judge who has been sought to be impeached.

This was the "accident" in Sibal's life which took a political turn thereafter. Taking note of his stellar performance, Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao offered him a Congress ticket from South Delhi in 1996. But he lost by over a lakh votes.

In 1998, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar with support from Lalu Prasad. Six years later, Sibal decided that if he was going to be in politics, he would do it by facing the voter. He contested and won the 2004 election from Chandni Chowk by polling a record 71 per cent votes. For a person who cleared IAS and then decided not to join, practised law, entered politics and dabbled in poetry, Sibal has come a long way. In his earlier stint in the UPA government, Sibal had managed to turn the ministry of science and technology, considered by many as a non-happening place, into a high profile one. 

Now, it is to be seen whether he can continue with the turnaround of HRD ministry, plagued by several controversies.

Among the challenges he faces is unversalisation of elementary and secondary education and meeting the infrastructure requirements of a bouquet of IITs and IIMs announced recently.

Several initiatives launched under his stewardship in the past include an ambitious programme to award scholarships for students opting for science and a massive overhaul of the oft-criticised India Meteorological Department.

Sibal also achieved the distinction of visiting the icy continent of Antarctica and staying with scientists at India's research station there. It was at his insistence that a research station was put up in the Arctic region as well.

Besides his achievements in the ministry of science and technology, Sibal was also the country's face in the tough negotiations on global response to climate change.

He is credited with getting the developed countries accept India's concerns on transfer of clean technology to developing countries to help tackle global warming.

Sibal has a Masters Degree in law from the prestigious Harvard Law School and also holds a Masters degree in History from Delhi University. 

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