Rajnath Singh, the teacher- turned politician, is returning to government in a seamless journey from a party president, under whose stewardship the BJP has returned to power with highest ever tally.
62-year-old Singh, who steadfastly announced Modi’s name as BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate despite opposition from seniors like L K Advani, is going to be one of the trusted lieutenants of Prime Minister Modi with a major say in the functioning of the government.
Singh, a two-term BJP president, rose from a BJP activists in Gorakhpur, where he tought physics in a local college, to Chief Minister of politically crucial Uttar Pradesh and then Transport and Agriculture Minister in Atal Bihar Vajpayee government.
His rise in politics has been gradual and steady during which he had been BJP chief from 2006 to 2009 and earned the reputation of being an able administrator as Union Minister and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
Elected to Lok Sabha from Lucknow, Singh has emerged from the ranks as a political heavyweight in the party largely due to his proximity to BJP’s spiritual mentor RSS.
After taking over BJP’s reins for the first time from Advani in December 2005, Singh sought to rebuild the party by focusing on basic Hindutva ideologies and said there would be “no compromise” on building the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
However, he not only failed to steer the party to power in the 2009 general elections but BJP’s poll tally dropped by 22 seats compared to 2004 Lok Sabha polls.
Born on July 10, 1951 at Bhabhaura village in Uttar Pradesh’s Chandauli district, Singh obtained MSc in physics from Gorakhpur University and was appointed lecturer in the K B Post degree college in Mirzapur in 1971.
Singh’s association with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh began in 1964 when he was only 13 year old. Even as lecturer he remained attached to RSS.
Rising step by step, he began his political innings with BJP’s student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in 1969 as its organising secretary in Gorakhpur and rose to become the secretary of the then Bharatiya Jan Sangh’s Mirzapur unit in 1974.
During the Emergency, Singh joined Jaiprakash Narayan’s movement and was arrested in July 1975 before being released in 1977.