Dinesh Sharma, 53, a professor of commerce at the Lucknow University, is known to be an approachable politician with deep roots in the RSS. He has been elected the mayor of Lucknow twice. He was first elected to the office in November 2006. He won again in July 2012.
Sharma, a Brahmin, has been teaching at the University, also his alma mater, since 1988. Sharma began his political career with the ABVP, the student wing of the RSS. He was also the state president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of BJP, before becoming the mayor of Lucknow.
He was appointed the national vice-president of the BJP in August 2014 and later made the in-charge of Gujarat state. Sharma was also the national in-charge of the membership drive started after the party’s victory in Lok Sabha polls in 2014. He has grown close to the current BJP leadership. It was on his invitation that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had come to attend the Ram Leela in Lucknow’s Aishbagh last year.
Party sources said his inclusion as a deputy CM is an attempt to present a moderate face of the government. Sharma is known to have good rapport with Muslims as well as clerics in Lucknow.
“The most important thing about him is that you would not find one person who would say anything against him. When I contested against him in the 2012 mayor’s election, he didn’t fight like an enemy. He often said I am younger son of his university classmate. Even though I was Congress nominee and supported by the SP and BSP, he won with a huge margin. This tells a lot about his image,” said Neeraj Bora, BJP MLA from Lucknow North.
Sharma’s associates claim that Sharma got a blessing from a sadhu as a newcomer politician that he would never have to leave the red beacon, following which he held two minister of state rank posts in the state government before becoming the mayor.
His younger sister Vandana Sharma said he has remained devoted to the party and politics and deserved to become the deputy CM. “What we have noticed the most about him is something that everyone knows. He lives a simple life and works in a simple manner. There is nothing that can be said against him. His image has been clean,” she said.