Ramoowalia, who was sworn in as cabinet minister in the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP government by UP governor Ram Naik caused a flutter within the ruling government and outside. Maintaining that it was not unusual for him to be a part of the UP governemnt, Ramoowalia told TOI he has had a long connection with Uttar Pradesh that goes back to his college days in Meerut, where he said he studied law.
Earlier, senior vice-president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Ramoowalia has also represented the party in Parliament from Faridkot and Sangrur, respectively. He is, however, known to have given up LS to get elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1996. Ramoowali was also Mulayam Singh Yadav’s cabinet colleague in the HD Deve Gowda’s United Democratic Front government, in charge of the social welfare ministry.
The Sikh from Punjab also launched his own political outfit, the Lok Bhalai Party, which he merged into the Akali Dal in November 2011. He contested the 2012 Punjab assembly elections from Mohali but lost to Balbir Singh Sidhu of the Congress. The Sardar with a socialist leaning started his career with student politics as general secretary of Student Federation of India in 1963. He joined the All India Sikh Students’ Federation and was its president from 1968-72. Ramoowalia and Mulayam are both known to have been close to the CPI (M) leader Harkishan Singh Surjeet.