The BJP's mayoral candidate for Bhopal, Alok Sharma (47), began his political career as a student leader with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). He was appointed convener of the Saifia College unit in 1985.
Born on November 25, 1967, a dyed-in-the-wool Bhopali, Alok Sharma had earlier joined the RSS as a Bal Swayamsevak in 1977. Sharma began his career in mainstream politics from the grassroots level as BJP president of ward 16 and later became secretary of the Chowk block in 1984.
Alok Sharma then went on to hold various district level positions in the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) from the mid-1980s and was also appointed state convener of BJYM's unemployed cell in 1997.
In 1998 he was appointed state vice president of the BJYM and was also elected member of the national executive of the BJYM twice. Alok Sharma was elected corporator from ward 22 in the Chowk area in 1994 and again in 1999 from ward 21.
In 1999, he was appointed as the mayor- in-council in-charge of the health department. In 2008, Alok Sharma was given the BJP ticket from Bhopal North assembly constituency and was defeated by Congress' Arif Aqueel.
Perceived to be close to chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, he was slated to contest the 2013 Vidhan Sabha elections from Bhopal North but backed out. Later in 2014, his name was doing the rounds for the Bhopal Lok Sabha seat but the ticket was given to Alok Sanjar at the last moment.