At an age when most youngsters struggle to find their feet, 26-year-old Rakhi Birla is not just the youngest minister in Arvind Kejriwal’s cabinet, but also its only woman face.
Birla had emerged as a giant killer after thumping four-time MLA and PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan in the Sheila Dikshit government in Mangolpuri by around 10,500 votes.
Before joining AAP, Birla had worked with a private news channel. She had also been working in collaboration with social organisations for the cause of the Valmiki community.
Birla hails from the Valmiki community and her father was associated with the Congress for a long time but quit the party in 2011 during the Janlokpal movement. She was born in Delhi to Sheila and Bhupendra Singh Bidhlan and is the youngest of their four daughters.
Birla’s last name which reminds you of one of India’s business families, got actually stuck with her after her school teacher made a mistake while preparing her Class X certificate and wrote Birla instead of Bidhlan, which is her actual surname. Birla had declared assets worth Rs 51,150 in her election affidavit.
Her family has been related to social work since the last four generations, from her great-grandfather and then grandfather who was part of India’s freedom struggle. Coming from a modest background, Birla always dreamt big.
After graduating from Delhi University’s Shivaji College, she did her masters in mass communication and joined a local television channel as a reporter. During her stint as journalist, Birla covered the Janlokpal movement and came in contact of India Against Corruption and Arvind Kejriwal.
When AAP was formed, Birla joined AAP and fought elections from her home turf, where she registered one of the biggest upset of these elections by thumping Chauhan who was considered invincible from the reserved constituency.