Shehzad Poonawalla is an Indian lawyer, columnist, politician, and Internet personality. He is the spokesperson for the Bharatiya Janata Party. He is the younger brother of the famous political and social analyst Tehseen Poonawalla.
Shehzad Poonawalla was born on Saturday, 17 October 1987 (age 36 years; as of 2023) in Pune, Maharashtra. His zodiac sign is Libra. He did his schooling at St. Vincent’s High School, Pune, and later went to MIT School of Government, Pune. During his school time, he was a topper. He pursued his graduation at the College of Puneand a Law degree at Pune University. In 2008, he moved to Delhi to begin his political career.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Weight (approx.): 65 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Brown
Body Measurements (approx.): Chest: 36, Waist: 30, Biceps: 12
Shehzad belongs to a Shia Muslim family.
Parents & Siblings
Shehzaad’s father, Sarfraz Poonawalla, was a businessman and his mother, Yasmin Poonawalla, is a homemaker. His father passed away when Shehzad was 5 years old. Shehzad has an elder brother, Tehseen Poonawalla. Tehseen Poonawalla is an Indian journalist, political analyst, and supporter of the Indian National Congress.
Shehzad Poonawalla is unmarried.
Shehzad follows Islam but identifies himself as a Hindu and an Indian by culture. He believes that the religion of a person is a private matter and one should not be determined by it. For him, a person’s religion is a way to communicate with one’s maker and a third person should not dictate it.
A46, South Extension Part 2 second floor, Behind Mehrasons Jewellers, Delhi
Shehzad began his political career in 2008 when he joined the Indian National Congress. Since childhood, he idolized Mahatma Gandhi and wanted to bring change in the social and political dynamics of the country, so he decided to join Congress. In his early Congress days, he worked closely with the party seniors including Digvijaya Singh, Rajeev Shukla, and Manish Tewari. He has served as a member of the research team of the All India Congress Committee’s (AICC’s) media cell and was appointed vice-president of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) wing in Pune. In 2014, he was appointed as the Maharashtra Congress Assistant and was officially trained as the National Spokesperson by Congress. In 2017, Shehzad left the Indian National Congress amid disputes between him and the party. According to him, the party did not follow any of its historic ideologies anymore and was solely focused on the upliftment of the Gandhi family. In an interview, when asked about why he left the Congress party, he said,
I left the Congress party, because for 70 years they have just exploited Muslims in the name of the vote bank, they did nothing about it. The most anti-Muslim riots took place under the Congress tenure and they have done nothing about it therefore it is a challava of the Muslims and “dokhadari” for Hindus.”
In 2017, after leaving the Congress party, Shehzad was influenced by Narendra Modi’s principles & Hindutva ideology and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. He became the BJP national spokesperson and started participating in various debates on news channels. On 23 December 2021, he was appointed as in charge of the social media and IT cell of the party’s Delhi unit.
Shehzad is a professional lawyer and has fought many cases in favour of civil rights and has served with the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. He was the columnist for the Indian Express. In 2015, he fought the famous Misbah Qadri case and also took the case of the Mob Lynching of Junaid in Haryana, India.
Publically challenged Rahul Gandhi
In December 2017, Shehzad Poonawalla publically challenged Rahul Gandhi. On his social media, he said that Rahul Gandhi is not capable of running the Indian National Congress and Narendra Modi is a better candidate than him. He publically criticized the party saying that there was “Dynasty Politics” at play inside the party and he too would contest the polls for the position of party president if Rahul Gandhi agrees to elect delegates and resigns from his current position to participate as an ordinary member of the party. Shehzad said,
Congress organisational elections were a sham since Rahul Gandhi enjoys an unfair advantage.Will you allow yourself to be judged on merit rather than your surname?”
He also asked if Rahul Gandhi would be willing to be part of a televised debate which would outline their vision for the party and the country. Poonawalla said Manish Tiwari opposed him and another senior leader, Sandeep Dikshit, had admitted that such things happen, he said.
Manish Tewari said, ‘Look what you’re talking about is reforms, if you want a political career put this on the side’… I kept a recording of Manish Tewari’s phone call – all this because Congress insulted me,”
After his statements, Narendra Modi praised him and said,
Congress has tried to muzzle his voice and wants to remove him from their social media groups. Those who have no internal democracy can’t work for people… I want to tell this youngster Shehzad – you have done a brave thing but this is sadly what has always happened in the Congress”.
Amid this situation, Shehzad’s brother Tehseen Poonawalla, who is a supporter of the Indian National Congress and has family relations with Rahul Gandhi because of his wife, publically disowned Shehzad Poonawalla on Twitter.
” I have got Shehzad Poonawalla up as my child . It pains me deeply to see him do this. This is totally unacceptable. We need to strengthen the Congress & allies to win. Any grievance could have been put up at appropriate forums . My wife & I disassociate with him .”
— Tehseen Poonawalla Official 🇮🇳 (@tehseenp) November 30, 2017
- He has appeared at many TEDx events including CISFG Jalandhar.
- His hobbies include travelling and reading.
- His family’s surname was Jamadar which means toilet cleaner, so it was changed to Poonawalla by his father as it did not suit the name of a Businessman.
- In 2015, he sued director and Producer Ram Gopal Varma for insulting lord Ganesha.