From an obscure RSS “pracharak” to the chief minister of Uttarakhand — it has been quite a journey for Trivendra Singh Rawat who had to quit the top office on Tuesday ahead of next year’s state assembly polls, following a “collective decision” by the party.
Sworn in as CM on March 18, 2017 when the BJP came to power after winning 57 out of 70 seats, he had just nine days left to complete four years of his tenure when he had to call it quits.
At the press conference soon after his resignation, Mr Rawat described himself as a man with humble beginnings who never imagined that the party will give him the honour of serving Uttarakhand as its chief minister.
“The rise of an ordinary man like me to the top office is something that can happen only in a party like the BJP,” he said.
In the 2017 election, Mr Rawat won the Doiwala seat for the third time, wresting it from the Congress which had bagged it in a bypoll in 2014. He defeated his rival by 24,869 votes.
The highlights of his term as chief minister were granting Gairsain in Chamoli district the summer capital status and the ordinance that gave co-ownership rights to women in their husband’s ancestral property.
The ouster from the CM’s post was sudden and rather unceremonious. Exactly what triggered it is still not known. But resentment against him has surfaced now and then with some MLAs even writing to the party’s central leadership, complaining that they were not being heard.
Mr Rawat was born in 1960 in a family where serving in the armed forces was a tradition — his father Pratap Singh Rawat was in Garhwal Rifles. Young Trivendra studied at a school with mud walls in his native village of Khairasain in Pauri Garhwal district.
Though average in studies, he had a keen interest in social and political affairs from an early age. Impressed with the Sangh”s ideology, he joined the RSS when he was just 19.
Six years later he was appointed an RSS pracharak for Dehradun city. After being actively involved with the RSS for about 14 years, Mr Rawat became the BJP”s state-level organisation secretary.
He also took party in the agitation for statehood for Uttarakhand and was arrested several times. In 2002, he was elected from Doiwala, in the state’s first assembly elections in 2002.
He won the seat again in 2007 and was made the state’s agriculture minister.
On the strength of his organisational skills, Mr Rawat was made the party’s national secretary in 2013. His successful stint in that capacity earned him the post of co-incharge of party affairs in Uttar Pradesh just a year later.
He is the ninth and the youngest of his siblings. One of his brothers is the post master of the post office at Khairasain village. Another brother grows aromatic plants on a piece of land near Jaiharikhal.
Mr Rawat keeps visiting his village now and then to relish millet (manduwa) rotis, his brother Veerendra says. The former CM is a post graduate in Journalism from Garhwal University’s Srinagar campus.