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From being denied to contest assembly polls to holding the reins of the state: Who is Tirath Singh Rawat?

The five-day-long political turmoil in Uttarakhand ended with Trivendra Singh Rawat resigning from the Chief Minister post, with Tirath Singh Rawat taking over the reins. 

With half a dozen names making rounds in the race of the chief minister of the state including  Haridwar MP  and Cabinet Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, State Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj,  State minister of Higher education Dhan Singh Rawat,  Rajya Sabha MP Anil Baluni and Nainital MP Ajay Bhatt, Tirath Singh Rawat victory came as a surprise. 

I’d never imagined that I’d reach here. We’ll make all efforts to meet people’s expectations and take forward work done in the last 4 years,” the newly-appointed Uttarakhand CM added.

In this first decision as CM, Tirath Singh Rawat said “ Flower Petals would be showered from a helicopter on devotees coming for the first  shahi snan.”

Who is Tirath Singh Rawat? 

Born on April 9, 1964, in village Sinro of Pauri Garhwal district, Rawat joined the 

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) when he was in class 11th and has held several key positions in the party. 

The 56- year -old, Tirath Singh Rawat is an MP from Garhwal in Uttarakhand.  He was the BJP chief in Uttarakhand from 9 February 2013 to 31 December 2015 and a former member of the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly from Chaubttakhal constituency from 2012 to 2017. He was also the 1st  Education Minister of Uttarakhand, a part of the interim government when Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh. 

 The successor of Trivendra Singh Rawat has the reputation of being a simple and down-to-earth leader. Tirath Singh Rawat is regarded as a grassroot politician and said to have a good understanding of the BJP’s set-up which could be one of the reasons why he was considered for the key post.  

Tirath Singh Rawat’s wife Rashmi, a professor of psychology, vouches for his “simplicity”.

“He is simple and unassuming despite having occupied several organisational positions, and a long political experience. These are his virtues,” she told reporters after Mr Rawat was elected leader of the state legislature party.

Interestingly, the leader who is now chosen for the top role in the state was denied the party ticket to contest the Uttarakhand assembly polls in 2017. 

However, Mr Rawat was soon made a national secretary and in the 2019 general elections, he was given the ticket to contest from Pauri Garhwal Lok Sabha constituency.

 In that poll battle, he was fielded against BJP veteran, former chief minister and his mentor Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri’s son Manish Khanduri, who was the Congress nominee.  It was noticed that the senior Khanduri maintained distance as both his son and Mr Rawat – who was considered his own protege – tried to appeal to his support base. Tirath Singh Rawat described himself as the true successor to Mr Khanduri’s political legacy and won by 3,02,669 votes, one of the biggest margins in the state.

Undoubtedly, the positioning of Tirath Singh Rawat on the top position is a smart strategy played out by the party ahead of next year’s assembly polls. 

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