Selja Kumari

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Selja Kumari
Kumari Selja.jpg
Selja in 2006
Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment
In office
28 October 2012 – 28 January 2014
Preceded byMeira Kumar
Succeeded byThawar Chand Gehlot
Minister of Tourism
In office
28 May 2009 – 19 January 2011
Preceded byAmbika Soni
Succeeded bySubodh Kant Sahay
MP of Rajya Sabha for Haryana
Assumed office
10 April 2014
Personal details
Born (1962-09-24) 24 September 1962 (age 57)
Parbhuwala, Punjab, India
(now in Haryana, India)
Political partyIndian National Congress
ResidenceHissar, Haryana

Selja Kumari (born 24 September 1962) is an Indian politician and a member of the Rajya Sabha. A senior leader of the Indian National Congress, she has been the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment and Tourism in the Government of India during Manmohan Singh's premiership.

Selja was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1991 from Sirsa, a constituency that she retained in the 1996 elections. Following her election to the 15th Lok Sabha from Ambala, she was appointed the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment. It was during this period that Selja worked to furthering the cause of women's rights as well as the rights of marginalised communities in India.

Selja unsuccessfully contested the general elections in 2019 from Ambala, and following that made a return to state politics, being elected the president of the Haryana unit of the Congress party later that year. She has been a member of the Rajya Sabha since April 2014 and her term extends to the end of the year 2020.

Early life[edit]

Selja Kumari was born on 24 September 1962 in Parbhuwala Hisar to Chaudhary Dalbir Singh, who was a politician from the Indian National Congress. She studied at the Convent of Jesus and Mary, New Delhi and later attended the Panjab University, where she completed masters and an advanced postgraduate degree.[1]

Political career[edit]

Early career and electoral debut (1990–2003)[edit]

Selja began her political career in the Mahila Congress becoming its President in 1990. She was elected to the 10th Lok Sabha in 1991 from Sirsa in Haryana. She was Union Minister of State for Education and Culture in the Narasimha Rao-led Congress government. Despite the Congress debacle in Haryana in 1996, she was re-elected to the 11th Lok Sabha.[1]

Selja began actively participating in international conferences and summits following her election to the 14th Lok Sabha in 2004. She was elected as a memmber of the Governing Board of Commonwealth Local Government Forum in 2005. She continued to engage with other such organisations as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and also headed the and Commonwealth Consultative Group on Human Settlements.[1]

Role under UPA governments (2004–2013)[edit]

Selja in her office after taking over the charge as the Union Minister of Urban Employment & Poverty Alleviation in May 2004.

Selja also took the oath as the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation in the Manmohan Singh-led government that following the 2004 electoral victory.[1]

Following her election to the 15th Lok Sabha from Ambala, Selja was appointed tge Minister of Tourism in Manmohan Singh's second cabinet. She visited such countries as Italy and Cyprus aimed at improving international relations during her time in office.[2]

In March 2011, Selja was issued notices by the Punjab and Haryana High Court over a petition that has accused her of "forgery, criminal intimidation, fabrication and hatching a criminal conspiracy". The petitioner, advocate B S Chahar, has alleged that Selja, who was "instrumental in instigating leaders and members of the Balmiki community against Jat leaders in Mirchpur case", tried to save herself from a litigation by pressurising the undertrials and forcing them to sign "blank and non judicial papers".[3]

Selja later took oath as Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment in 2012. She remained in office for five years until the completion of her term in May 2014, a period during which she worked on issues relating to empowerment of women and rights of marginalised communities.[1][4]

Move to Rajya Sabha and beyond (2014–present)[edit]

Selja was elected to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India, from her home state of Haryana in 2014.[5] She unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Indian general elections from Ambala, losing out to Bhartiya Janata Party's Rattan Lal Kataria.[6] Following that, she expressed a renewed interest in the politics of the state and was appointed the president of the Haryana Pradesh Congerss Committee in Septemper, 2019, just ahead of the [[2019 Haryana Legislative Assembly election|assembly elections scheduled for October.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Detailed profile: Kumari Selja". Government of India. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Annual Report 2010-11" (PDF). Ministry of External Affairs. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  3. ^ "HC notice to Kumari Selja for 'threatening' Mirchpur accused". The Indian Express. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  4. ^ "Meet the Ministers - Cabinet Minister". Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  5. ^ Pushpan, Shikha (18 May 2014). "Kumari Selja may lead Haryana Congress after party's rout in Lok Sabha polls: sources". News18. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  6. ^ "Live Ambala Lok Sabha Results". NDTV. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  7. ^ Kumar, Vikrant Singh (4 September 2019). "Congress appoints Kumari Selja as new state party president of Haryana". India Today. Retrieved 12 October 2019.

External links[edit]

Lok Sabha
Preceded by
Het Ram
Member of Parliament
for Sirsa

1991 – 1998
Succeeded by
Sushil Kumar Indora
Preceded by
Rattan Lal Kataria
Member of Parliament
for Ambala

2004 – 2014
Succeeded by
Rattan Lal Kataria
Rajya Sabha
Preceded by
Ram Prakash
Member of Parliament
for Rajya Sabha Haryana

2014 - present
Political offices
Preceded by
Meira Kumar
Union Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation
22 May 2009 – 26 May 2014
Succeeded by
Thawar Chand Gehlot
Preceded by
Ambika Soni
Union Minister of Tourism
28 May 2009 – 19 January 2011
Succeeded by
Subodh Kant Sahay