Trivendra Singh Rawat Sworn in as Uttarakhand’s Ninth Chief Minister
Trivendra Singh Rawat, 56, was sworn in today as the ninth Chief Minister of Uttarakhand in a ceremony held in Dehradun. Attending the event was PM Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP President Amit Shah, among several other Union Ministers.
Seven others were also sworn in today and included party heavyweight Satpal Maharaj, Prakash Pant and Yashpal Arya.
Coming in wake of a sweeping victory, where the BJP wrested 57 out of 70 seats, the party was in a dilemma on who to pick as the next Chief Minister, since the party went into elections without a CM face.
Getting to Know Trivendra Singh Rawat
His ascendency to the Chief Minister’s post comes at the culmination of a long journey, which began when he joined the RSS in 1979 at the age of 19. The youngest of the nine siblings, Trivendra was born in December, 1960 in a small village called Khairasain in Pauri Garhwal.
His father was an army soldier and sent Trivendra to study in the local school in Khairasain. He later completed his Post Graduation in Journalism from Garhwal University.
His early exposure and interest in RSS philosophy and its socio-cultural activities, lay the ground for him to be appointed as a RSS Pracharak in Dehradun, where he served for 14 years. This period also saw him develop keen interest in politics and his joining BJP was a natural extension of his work and interest.
Early Steps in Politics
He began developing the political base for BJP in Dehradun by extending the contacts he had developed at the grassroots level as a RSS Pracharak.
Soft-spoken and unassuming, he slowly earned the respect and acceptance as a sincere party cadre and soon graduated to the position of Pradesh Secretary in BJP.
He took active part in the agitation for the statehood and was arrested several times.
After the Uttarakhand was formed in 2000, Trivendra Singh Rawat got his first chance to fight for an assembly seat in the elections held in 2002. He stood from the Doiwala constituency and won.
In the following assembly elections in 2007, he retained his seat and was appointed State’s Minister for Agriculture. He lost the seat in 2014 byelection only to regain it again this year, winning by a margin of 24,869 votes.
Why BJP Picked Him for CM’s Post
Several factors worked in his favour. He has been a staunch RSS Pracharak and faithful BJP worker who built a reputation as a diligent grassroots level organizer. His experience and organizational skills in galvanizing party cadres, across caste lines, won him praise and attention from the top party brass.
Having got his political training under the mentorship of party veteran Lalji Tandon, Rawat was entrusted to oversee BJP’s campaign as a co-incharge of U.P in the run up to the 2014 General elections.
His organisational skills earned him respect within the party and soon was made in-charge of BJP’s campaign in Jharkhand in the assembly elections.
Senior leaders like Rajnath Singh have campaigned in his support in the recent elections in Uttarakhand and his commitment to the party cause along with strong administrative experience, saw him get past senior party stalwarts like Satpal Maharaj for the Chief Minister’s post.
Major Challenges Ahead
The new CM will have little time to settle in as he has to get back on track an economically shaky state.
The devastating floods and earthquakes have left the state financially stressed and compounded by the fact that tourists to the state have dwindled.
Attracting investment in the state is another area where his skills will be tested. The one thing he can count on will be the center’s pro-active support in all that he initiates.