From youth leader to Uttarakhand CM: Tracing T S Rawat's political journey

in 2012, Rawat won his first assembly election from Chaubatakhal constituency even when his own political guru Khanduri was defeated in that very election where BJP lost power just by one seat.
A political acolyte of BJP stalwart B C Khanduri, new Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat (57) is known for his honest image as well as simplicity in the hill state.

Most of the state BJP leaders agreed that Rawat, a first time MP from Pauri constituency, was a surprise choice for the top post even when several party leaders like Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank were in the race. Rawat, who is the tenth Chief Minister of the state, has taken over the reins of the state at a time when the assembly elections are just one year away which is going to be his biggest challenge.

Born on April 9, 1964 in Seeron village of Pauri district, Rawat’s political career in the hill state began on flying note when he became the first education minister in the BJP interim government headed by late Nityanand Swami in November 2000. During his tenure as the education minister, he was responsible for setting up the state education board and appointing new teachers in schools where there was a dearth.

When the first assembly election was held in 2002, Rawat faced a shocking defeat from Pauri assembly constituency. In 2007 election, he  was again defeated.

in 2012, Rawat won his first assembly election from Chaubatakhal constituency even when his own political guru Khanduri was defeated in that very election where BJP lost power just by one seat.

In 2013, Rawat was given the responsibility of the state BJP chief, a choice which had stunned many state BJP leaders at that time. In 2015, he was replaced by party MP Ajay Bhatt. But soon, he became the national secretary of the BJP. However, he was not given ticket from Chaubatkhal in 2017 assembly election.

In 2019, when the BJP high command gave him party ticket against Khanduri’s son Manish from Pauri parliamentary constituency, many eyebrows were raised. A section of the BJP leaders thought Rawat was not a right choice when his political guru’s son is contesting from Congress. But Khanduri made it clear that he has given his blessings to Rawat in the election. Finally, Rawat won the election by more than three lakh votes defeating Manish. This was the biggest margin in Pauri constituency.

A post graduate in sociology, Rawat started his career as a Sangh Pracharak in 1983 though he was the President of the students union in the Hemvati Nandan Garhwal University. In 1988, he joined ABVP. In 1997, he became an MLC in Uttar Pradesh.

Rawat’s wife Dr Rashmi Rawat is an assistant professor in the DAV PG College and has one daughter. “Even when he (Rawat) was education minister I used to travel 25 km every day from Dehradun city for teaching in a primary school at a salary of Rs 5000. This was because, I knew there are lots of ups and downs in politics and one partner must have a regular job. But now I am working as an assistant professor in DAV college,” Dr Rashmi said. “I had a strong feeling that this job (CM) should go to my husband,” she said.

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