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Know your Neta: Everything about Somnath Bharti
Somnath Bharti (born 10 May 1974) is an Indian lawyer turned politician with the Aam Admi Party (AAP), representing the Malviya Nagar constituency in the Delhi Legislative Assembly. Before joining politics with the change-oriented AAP, Bharti was a lawyer practicing before Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court.
After being selected by the AAP as their candidate for the Malviya Nagar constituency in the Delhi state assembly elections, 2013, he defeated Kiran Walia of Indian National Congress (erstwhile minister in the previous cabinet) and Arti Mehra of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was sworn as Minister of Law, Tourism, Administrative Reforms, Art & Culture in the Govt of Delhi on 28 Dec 2013.
Somnath spent his childhood at Hisua Bazar in Nawada, about 100 km from state capital Patna. He completed his early education from a local government school, and then went to Patna for intermediate education (Class 12).
After completing his post-graduate M.Sc. from IIT Delhi, Bharti pursued a degree in law from Law Center – 1 of Delhi University.
In June 2012, Bharti was involved in a campaign against the alleged interference of the then Minister of Human Resources and Development, Kapil Sibal, in the Joint Entrance Examination process for admission to Indian Institutes of Technology. The government later partially withdrew the proposal.
In 2010-2013, he appeared in news for defending the rights of homeschooled children and subscribers of alternate education system in view of the binding provision of the Rights of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act through Public Interest Litigations filed in Delhi High Court thrice. In response to his PILs, the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, through an affidavit, clarified that they are not against homeschooling.
In 2009, Bharti represented Vikram Buddhi. He led the movement against the abeyance of sentencing of Vikram Buddhi in the USA, forcing the US justice system to announce a sentencing within 3 months, after it was kept in abeyance for over 3.5 years.
Bharti was the Aam Aadmi Party candidate for the Malviya Nagar constituency in the Delhi state assembly elections, 2013. Bharti won the seat with 32,258 votes, defeating veteran politicians Arti Mehra of the Bharatiya Janata Party (24,486 votes) and the incumbent Kiran Walia of the Indian National Congress (20,500 votes). Walia had won the seat in 1999, 2003, and 2008 and had been education minister in the earlier government, while Mehra, who has represented the neighbouring Hauz Khas constituency for many years, had been Mayor of Delhi in 2007-2009. In contrast, Bharti, like most of the other 28 legislators from the newly-formed Aam Admi Party, was a political neophyte.