Ritu Jaiswal is an Indian politician and a member of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). She became the State Spokesperson of RJD in 2021 and State President of RJD (Women Wing) in 2023. Previously, she was the Mukhiya of Gram Panchayat Singhwahini, Sitamarhi, Bihar (2016–2021).
Ritu Jaiswal was born on Tuesday, 1 March 1977 (age 46 years; as of 2023) in Hajipur, Bihar, India. Her zodiac sign is Pisces. She did her schooling at St. Paul’s High School, Hajipur. Thereafter, she pursued a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Vaishali Mahila College, Hajipur. The Print In 1996, she got married to a bureaucrat named Arun Kumar and started living in Khel Gaon, Delhi.
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Family & Caste
She belongs to a Hindu Rajput community, a minority in Bihar. Rediff Wikipedia
Parents & Siblings
Her father, Bhola Prashad Choudhary (deceased), was murdered. Her mother’s name is Asha Jaiswal. She has two brothers, one younger and one elder. One of her brothers’ names is Raju.
Husband & Children
On 7 December 1996, she got married to a bureaucrat Arun Kumar, a former commissioner at the Chief Vigilance Commission (CVC). Previously, he served as an Indian Ordnance Factories Service official. In 2021, following the footsteps of his wife, Arun won the Arun became the Mukhiya of Gram Panchayat Singhwahini.
Together, they have two children, a son, Rithwik Aryan, and a daughter, Avani. Both studied in a boarding school in Bengaluru.
She follows Hinduism.
A Turning Point in Jaiswal’s Life
In 1996, she got married to the bureaucrat Arun Kumar and started living a luxurious life in Delhi’s Khel Gaon, a posh locality. In 2013, sixteen years after her marriage, Ritu visited her ancestral matrimonial home in Narkatiya Village, Sonbarsa Block, Sitamarhi District of Bihar. Until then, she had spent her life in her urban cacoon, ignorant of the plight of rural India. To her utter disappointment, she discovered that the village lacked basic amenities like electricity and clean drinking water. In an interview, while describing her experience at the village, she said,
When I had to walk down the river to reach the village with chappals in my hand, human excreta clogging my feet, I could only remember Prem Chand’s stories. My heart sank when I saw people of these villages living in extreme poverty, children and pregnant women malnourished. There was no youth in these villages, it only had old men and women, pregnant women, children and widows.”
Therefore, she decided to work on the upliftment of the village, starting with the provision of better education to girls. At that time, a girl from the village, who held a B. Ed. degree, was working as a school teacher in Bokaro, Jharkhand. Ritu lured in that girl with an offer of better pay to educate girls in the Sitamarhi, starting with a batch of 25 girls; 12 of them passed Class 10 with flying colours. Ritu frequently started visiting the village. She also brought a projector with her to spread awareness to villagers on various topics like open defecation, pesticide-free farming, and domestic violence. Her inquiries revealed an electrification scheme had been sanctioned for the village following which she mobilised villagers and took them to the electricity office to get the scheme executed. She was successful in bringing bulbs and fans to life in 80-odd households in 2015. Happy about the development that she had brought to the village, she decided to return to her city life in May 2016, but the villagers changed her mind and elected her as the Mukhiya of Gram Panchayat Singhwahini, Sitamarhi, Bihar.
As the Mukhiya from Gram Panchayat Raj Singwahini
In 2016, contested and won the election for the position of Mukhiya from Gram Panchayat Raj Singwahini, bagging 72% votes of the 6500-strong electorate, and became the incharge of the seven villages that make up Singhwahini Panchayat — Narkatia, Khutha, Kaharwa, Badi Singhwahini, Choti Singhwahini, Bhagwanpur, and Jankinagar. The first challenge that she took up was open defecation. She formed a group of women who would educate men and women on the health and social impacts of open defecation. Using the assistance of DM Rajeev Roshan, 2000 toilets were constructed in the village and the panchayat was declared ODF (open defecation free) in October 2016.
Other developments that she brought to the village during her tenure include the installation of hand pumps in the panchayat’s 12 wards, pucca roads, and collaboration of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research team with panchayat’s farmers for yielding better crops.
To improve the PDS (Public Distribution System), she collected the PDS card of 14,000 villagers from the panchayat, tabulated the details, and discovered that the population required 8,853 units of ration. A probe into the matter revealed that out of the five dealers in the village, two had been allotted more and three others less ration than the units allotted to their shops. Thereafter, a presentation was made before the DM after which the Block Development Officer (BDO) was tasked with rearranging the ration allotment. Next, she noticed that some teachers reported late at work at the panchayat’s nine schools. Instead of schooling the teachers herself, she decided to go for “Gandhigiri” and instructed the guardians of children to greet teachers with folded hands and say,
Kya sir, ham apka doh ghante se intezar kar rahein hain.”
(Sir, we have been waiting for you since two hours.)
Ashamed, the teachers soon mended their ways.
As a Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Politician
In 2020, she joined the Janata Dal (United) ahead of the Bihar Legislative Assembly elections but left the party when she realised that she would be given a ticket from a different constituency than the Parihar Assembly constituency in Sitamarhi district, where she had spent the last four years serving as the Mukhiya from Gram Panchayat Raj Singwahini. Thereafter, she started preparing to contest the elections as an independent candidate, but she was offered a ticket by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). She contested and lost the 2020 Bihar Legislative Assembly elections on the party ticket from RJD from the Parihar.
She became the State Spokesperson of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in 2021. On 25 April 2023, she became the State President of Rashtriya Janata Dal (Women Wing).
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- On 18 January 2017, she received the ‘Uchh Shikshit Adarsh Yuva Sarpanch (Mukhiya) Puraskaar 2016’ at the 7th Bharatiya Chhatra Sansad by the Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT) School of Government in Pune.
- On 26 December 2018, she was awarded the Champions of Change (award) 2018 by the honourable Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.
- On 23 October 2019, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India conferred the National Panchayat Award “Deen Dayal Upadhayay Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar – 2019” on her Gram Panchayat Singhwahini in New Delhi.
- On 21 June 2019, the Rural Marketing Association of India conferred the “Flame Leadership Award – 2019” on her at the Taj Santacruz, Mumbai.
- In 2020, she received the Times Women Extraordinaire Award from the Times of India.
- In an interview, she revealed that she was known for her leadership traits and rebellious attitude during her college days. She revealed that she would distribute her mother’s saris among poor women without informing her.
- Ritu was among the 5 Mukhiyas who were selected to represent Bihar in the Capacity Building Program for Sarpanch & Panchayat Secretaries by The Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India at the Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi.
- An eloquent public speaker, Ritu has delivered speeches at various events including the international conference on LPG: Catalyst of Social Change-2 in Ranchi (2018), SEE Talks held at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai (2018), TED (conference) in Patna (2018), and “Democracy Express” by the Indian School of Democracy when the yatra was in Delhi (2019).
- She has a pet dog named Jerry.