New Delhi: Tirath Singh Rawat admitted he never imagined he would be bestowed with such an honour when he assumed the role of the chief minister of Uttarakhand.
It indeed came as a surprise for most people, when the Bharatiya Janata Party announced him as the choice to replace Trivendra Singh Rawat.
“I am a small party worker from a village. I will fulfil the expectations from me,” said the newly minted CM.
Rawat is known to be a mild-mannered, down-to-earth leader who has remained connected to his roots through all these years of his political journey.
Born on April 9, 1964, in village Sinro of Pauri Garhwal district, Rawat has held several important positions in the party.
He was the first education minister of Uttarakhand after the formation of the state. He contested and won the assembly elections from the Chaubattakhal constituency. He went on to become the state BJP president from 2013 to 2015.
However, he was denied a party ticket in the next elections as Satpal Maharaj was chosen over him.
But the party made up to him. Rawat was soon made a national secretary and given the ticket to contest from Pauri Garhwal Lok Sabha constituency in the 2019 general elections.
He defeated his political mentor and BJP veteran Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri’s son Manish Khanduri of the Congress by over three lakh votes to win from the Pauri Garhwal seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Rawat, who had described himself as the true heir to Khanduri’s political legacy, won by 3,02,669 votes, one of the biggest margins in the state. Consequently, he became a member of parliament for the first time.
Rawat’s wife Rashmi is a professor of psychology. She 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 Rawat was elected leader of the state legislature party.
“He is a serious man and does not speak much,” she added.
Rawat’s principal challenge now is the assembly election next year, when his organisational experience will be put to test as the party hopes to retain power in Uttarakhand.