Dinesh Sharma was indoctrinated into Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)’s ideology early in his life due to his father’s association with sangh ideologue Deendayal Upadhyaya and former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
He has been appointed as deputy chief minister of UP, along with Keshav Prasad Maurya, on Saturday, a week after the BJP won a landslide victory in the country’s most populous and politically crucial state.
But more than the family connection, his rise in the BJP, an offshoot of the RSS, is largely attributed to his organisational skill.
Vajpayee first spotted his talent and entrusted him with the organisational work of the party. It was the former prime minister who inspired the 53-year-old Lucknow mayor to join politics.
Sharma, a prominent upper-caste face of the party in UP, was also credited by many for the resounding success of BJP’s membership drive ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
As the national in-charge of the drive, he then helped the BJP grow into a largest political party in the world with more than 100 million members.
Soon after the BJP’s landslide victory in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Sharma was made in-charge of Modi’s home state, Gujarat. Party insiders say, his deftness in handling organisational matters in Gujrat did not escape the eyes of Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
He was made BJP’s national vice president in 2016.
Sharma, who also multi-tasked as a professor of the Lucknow University, also excelled in academics, with 20 doctoral theses being completed under him.
Born on January 12, 1964, Sharma has been teaching in the university’s commerce department since 1992. He did his PhD from the same university.
Known for his orthodox beliefs, he often blames western culture and influence of Bollywood movies for what he termed degenerating of Indian ethos.
In 2013, soon after the horrific Delhi gang rape, he blamed such degeneration of Indian culture for such incidents.
He is married to former IIM faculty Jayalakshmi.