Son of a security aide of erstwhile Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, it has been a long wait for Nirmal Kumar Singh of BJP to come to the centre stage of state politics.
After having a heart-burn during the ticket distribution in last Lok Sabha election, Singh was the unanimous choice of the BJP for the post of deputy chief minister.
Singh contested several Lok Sabha and state assembly elections over the past 25 years but had to wait till 2014 for his maiden victory.
58-year-old Singh won the assembly election held last year from Billawar constituency in Kathua district by defeating sitting Congress MLA Manohar Lal Sharma by a margin of nearly 18,000 votes.
Singh, whose father was in the close security cordon of the then Maharaja of the state, was beaming as he walked to take the oath as a minister in the Mufti Mohammed Sayeed government on Sunday.
He is among the first BJP MLAs to be sworn-in as a minister in the country's only Muslim-majority state.
A professor of history at Jammu University, Singh hails from Karanwara-Sabar area of Basohli tehsil in Kathua.
Singh has done Ph.D in History from Jammu University in 1988 and was serving as a professor of history in Jammu University before his election to the Legislative assembly.
A long time RSS supporter, the BJP leader is considered the main force behind the rise of party in Jammu region of the state over the years.
Singh started taking active interest in political activities at a young age. He was arrested during the Emergency period in 1975.
He was a front runner for being the BJP candidate for Doda-Udhampur Lok Sabha seat but lost out to eventual winner Jitendra Singh.
Feeling slighted, the History professor had maintained a low profile ahead of the Parliament elections but worked with full commitment after he was appointed as the chairman of election campaign in Jammu and Kashmir.