Mohan Bhagwat, a 58-year-old veterinary doctor, is one of the youngest to head the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Hailing from Maharashtra, he is described as a "straightforward" person who may prefer to keep the outfit off party politics.
Bhagwat, who Saturday became the sixth person to be appointed chief of the RSS, is a bachelor and has travelled extensively in India and abroad.
Bhagwat belongs to Chandrapur in the Vidarbha region and was born Sep 11, 1950. He graduated in veterinary sciences and animal husbandry from Punjabrao Krishi Vidyapeeth, Akola. But he was to follow in the footsteps of his father.
Bhagwat's father worked as a 'pracharak' - a term used by the RSS to designate volunteers working full time for the organisation - in Gujarat for sometime.
The new RSS chief left his masters course in veterinary sciences and became an RSS pracharak towards the end of 1975 when the country was under Emergency rule imposed by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
After working underground during the Emergency, Bhagwat became pracharak of Akola in Maharashtra in 1977 and rose within the organisation to become pracharak of Nagpur and Vidarbha region.
He became in-charge of physical training for RSS cadres across the country in 1991, a post he held till 1999. That year he was made in-charge, for one years, of RSS volunteers working full time all over country.
In 2000, when Rajendra Singh and H V Seshadri decided to step down as RSS chief and general secretary respectively due to poor health, K S Sudarshan was nominated the new chief and Mohan Bhagwat rose to the post of general secretary for three years.
He got re-elected to the office in 2003 and 2006.
On Saturday, he was nominated by 74-year-old Sudarshan to succeed as the outfit's chief at the meeting of the RSS' top decision-making body, the Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha. Sudarshan stepped down on grounds of poor health.
"The new RSS chief is a straightforward person with a clear vision that the RSS should stay away from party politics. His focus would be to strengthen the organisational structure," a senior RSS pracharak who has worked closely with Bhagwat told IANS in New Delhi.
After K.B. Hedgewar, who founded the RSS in 1925 at the age of 36, Bhagwat is the youngest RSS chief. All his immediate juniors, manning key positions in the outfit, are much older to him.
Within RSS circles, Bhagwat is known as a lookalike of the first RSS chief.