BJP veteran Trivendra Singh Rawat, who started his political career as a Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) pracharak and has been nominated as the chief minister of Uttarakhand, has come a long way.
Born into a family of an Indian Army soldier in Khaira-sain, a scenic mountain village some 60 km from Pauri, Rawat’s career graph registered a steady rise from humble beginnings. It was, however, an unconventional step considering the apolitical family he came from.
“My father wanted me to take up a career in the army but I chose politics as my vocation,” Rawat told HT some years back when he was the state agriculture minister in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in 2007.
The 56-year-old graduated from Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University before joining the RSS in 1983. Rawat’s stint at the RSS saw him propagating its Hindutva philosophy even when he was forced to go underground during the Ram Temple agitation in the early 1990s.
“I had to go underground like many of my fellow workers yet I continued my work as a pracharak,” he said, recalling his initial days with the Sangh Parivar when was largely active in the undivided Uttar Pradesh.
Soon his organisational skills were noticed by the BJP and was sent to Uttarakhand, his home state, as the party’s sangathan mantri or organisational secretary few years before its formation in 2000, insiders said.
He held the post between 1997 and 2002.
Two years later, the BJP lost its maiden assembly election held in the hill state but Rawat won from his Doiwala seat.
He was re-elected from there when the BJP won the next assembly elections in 2007 and rose to become a cabinet minister. After the party lost the 2012 assembly elections, Rawat was made its in-charge for Jharkhand.
Rawat, a Thakur, is close to BJP chief Amit Shah and was one of the three deputies attached to him in Uttar Pradesh during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Party insiders said Rawat pipped former minister Prakash Pant for the post of the chief minister because of his long association with the RSS. “Besides, he also got the benefit of his proximity to party chief Shah,” a senior party leader said.
Rawat’s detractors have expressed doubts about his ability to run the state as the CM. His supporters, however, have rubbished all such doubts dubbing the incumbent chief minister as a go-getter.
“Rawatji’s track record as a minister had been noticeable not only because of his ability to deliver but also because of the way he handled the bureaucracy,” state BJP spokesperson Virendra Singh Bisht said.
“Besides administrative experience, he has a clear vision for the state’s development,” Bisht added.
The spokesperson suggested that Rawat would prove to be a good chief minister for the state.