From an obscure Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh pracharak for Dehradun city to the chief ministership of Uttarakhand, it has been an amazing journey for Trivendra Singh Rawat whose fierce loyalty to the Bharatiya Janata Party and RSS saw him pip rival heavyweights like Satpal Maharaj to the post.
Coupled with his administrative and organisational skills and experience, his loyalty to the party and RSS ideology seemed to have won the day for him.
So impressed was Home Minister Rajnath Singh with his unflinching devotion that while asking people to vote for Rawat, he had said, "Trivendra Singh Rawat ne kabhi apni nishtha nahin badli (he never switched his loyalty)."
The ringing endorsement by the fellow Thakur leader from neighbouring Uttar Pradesh seems to have worked for Rawat, 56, who wrested the Doiwala seat from the Congress with an impressive margin of 24,869 votes to win it for the third time.
His organisational skills were put to test in Jharkhand where he came out with flying colours, guiding the BJP to a resounding electoral victory in the assembly polls in 2014 as party in-charge.
Rawat also has considerable administrative experience as he was a minister in the BJP governments led by B C Khanduri and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.
Born in December 1960 into a family where serving in the armed forces was a tradition, with his father Pratap Singh Rawat in Garhwal Rifles, he studied in a school built of mud and thatch in his native village of Khairasain in Pauri Garhwal district.
Though average in studies, Rawat evinced keen interest in socio-cultural work at an early age, a fact which explains his joining the RSS aged 19 years.
Six years later he was appointed RSS pracharak for Dehradun city.
After an active association with the RSS for nearly 14 years, he was made BJP’s organisational secretary. He was also actively associated with the Uttarakhand statehood agitation during which he was arrested several times.
Rawat, who is a post graduate in journalism from Garhwal University's Shrinagar campus, worked for many years as pradesh BJP organisation secretary before being elected for the first time from Doiwala seat in the state’s first assembly elections in 2002. Rawat won again in 2007 and was made agriculture minister.
Rawat reaped the reward for his organisational skills when he was given the responsibility of the party’s national secretary in 2013.
His successful stint in that capacity earned him the post of co-incharge of the party’s affairs in Uttar Pradesh just a year later in 2014. He was later made BJP in-charge of Jharkhand ahead of the crucial assembly election, a responsibility he discharged well to further strengthen the party leadership's trust in him.
Rawat had lost Doiwala seat in a bypoll to Congress’s Hira Singh Bisht in 2014, a defeat widely attributed to the infighting in the party.
Considered a man rooted in rural traditions, Rawat loves hill delicacies and keeps visiting his village from time to time to relish those, especially during winter when he loves to eat millet (Manduwa) rotis, his elder brother Veerendra says.
He is the ninth and youngest of his siblings who have still not forgotten their rural roots.
One of his elder brothers is the post master of the village post office at Khairasain, while another grows aromatic plants on a piece of land near Jahariyakhal on a commercial scale.
Trivendra Singh Rawat being greeted by supporters after he was elected as the party's legislative party leader in Dehradun. Photograph: PTI Photo