Dehradun: Trivendra Singh Rawat has struck it rich in politics—how else would one explain the rise of an obscure RSS pracharak in Dehradun to the chief minister of Uttarakhand.
It’s perhaps got to do with his fierce loyalty to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), something that caught the eye of home minister Rajnath Singh. “Trivendra Singh Rawat ne kabhi apni nishtha nahin badli (he never switched his loyalty),” Singh had said of his fellow Thakur leader during an election rally in Uttarakhand.
That, coupled with his administrative and organizational skills and experience, clearly seems to have won the day for him.
In the recently concluded Uttarakhand elections, Trivendra Singh Rawat (56) won the Doiwala seat for a third time with an impressive margin of 24,869 votes.
Rawat’s abilities first came to the fore in 2014 during the Jharkhand elections where, as the party in-charge of the state, he guided the BJP to a resounding electoral victory. The BJP won 37 seats, up from 18 in the previous election, and went on to form a coalition government in the state.
Born in a family where serving in the army is a tradition (his father Pratap Singh Rawat was in the Garhwal Rifles), Rawat did his primary education in his native village of Khairasain in the Pauri-Garhwal district.
An average student, Rawat showed keen interest in sociocultural work from an early age—a fact that explains his joining the RSS at 19. He was appointed a pracharak of Dehradun six years later and then BJP’s organizational secretary after 14 years of active association with the Hindu nationalist outfit. He was also part of Uttarakhand statehood agitation during which he was arrested several times.
Rawat’s first brush—and success—with electoral politics came in 2002 when he represented the BJP from Doiwala seat during Uttarakhand’s first assembly election. Rawat won again in 2007 assembly elections and was made the state agriculture minister. His organizational skills soon garnered enough attention and, in 2013, he was named a national secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party. A successful stint in that capacity earned him the post of co-incharge of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh in 2014.
But it was Jharkhand elections that brought him in focus. Rawat’s led the party’s poll campaign in the state, a responsibility he discharged so well that it powered the BJP to victory on 37 seats.
In 2014, Rawat lost the Doiwala seat in a bypoll to Congress’s Hira Singh Bisht, a defeat widely attributed to infighting in Uttarakhand BJP.
Considered a man rooted in rural traditions, Rawat loves hill delicacies and keeps visiting his village from to relish those, especially during winter when he loves to eat millet rotis, his elder brother Virendra says.
Rawat is the ninth and youngest of his siblings. One of his elder brothers is the post master of Khairasain village, while another is a farmer near Jahariyakhal.