The suspense over Uttarakhand’s ninth chief minister ended on Friday, after Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) pracharak Trivendra Singh Rawat was unanimously chosen as the legislature party leader.
Mr. Rawat is quintessentially an organisation man, having been with the RSS since 1979. He became a pracharak for Dehradun in 1985. After an active association with the parent body for nearly 14 years, he was made BJP’s organisational secretary, having worked closely with senior U.P. BJP leader, Lalji Tandon. He was also actively associated with the Uttarakhand statehood agitation, during which he was arrested several times.
A postgraduate in journalism from Garhwal University’s Shrinagar campus, Mr Rawat continued as pradesh BJP organisation secretary before being elected for the first time from the Doiwala seat in the State’s first Assembly elections in 2002. He won again in 2007 and was made Agriculture Minister.
However, this was followed by two debacles when he lost the Raipur seat in the 2012 Assembly polls and the Doiwala seat in the 2014 by-elections to the Congress.
Mr. Rawat went on to build a place for himself in national politics after he worked closely with BJP national president Amit Shah in Uttar Pradesh during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. He is also credited with the party’s victory in the 2014 Jharkhand polls when he was State party in-charge.
“He [Rawat] was a snooty individual… That’s probably the reason why he couldn’t garner votes in the two polls [2012, 2014]. However, the debacles brought a noticeable change in him and now he’s much better while dealing with people,” a highly placed source in the BJP told The Hindu .
‘Fit man for the job’
Another source in the BJP said, “It’s difficult to overpower Trivendra- ji and that’s what the party’s central leadership needs for Uttarakhand… The bureaucracy needs to be put under control and Trivendra- ji is fit for the job.”
Born in Khairasain village in Pauri Garhwal region, Mr Rawat is the ninth and youngest in his family that still retains its rural roots. One of his elder brothers is the postmaster at Khairasain, while another grows aromatic plants near Jahariyakhal.
The Doiwala MLA’s major challenge will be to keep the BJP’s flock of 57 MLAs together, including the other contenders for the post of Chief Minister and 11 defectors from the Congress.