Rajnath - a quintessential grassroots leader from Uttar Pradesh

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New Delhi, Jun 9 (PTI) A strategist and a quintessential political leader with grassroots connect, Rajnath Singh is credited with expanding the BJP's organisational network in the Hindi heartland state of Uttar Pradesh in the 1990s and the subsequent decades.

Hailing from the Chandauli district of the politically crucial state, Singh is known as a moderate face and is widely respected by leaders cutting across party lines.

The 72-year-old Singh, whose illustrious political career spanned over five decades, on Sunday took oath as a member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Cabinet.

Long seen as a protege of BJP patriarch Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Singh started his political career as a student activist with Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and went on to become the BJP national president in 2005.

The senior BJP leader was elected for another term as the party president in January 2013.

In the Lok Sabha polls, Singh retained the prestigious Lucknow constituency.

In the first tenure of Prime Minister Modi, Singh served as Union Home Minister.

As the defence minister since 2019, he initiated several path-breaking measures to strengthen India's combat readiness along the border with China as well as boost the country's defence manufacturing.

Under his leadership, the defence ministry pursued an aggressive policy to enhance infrastructure along the frontier region that significantly helped faster military mobilisation in sensitive sectors.

His tenure as the defence minister also saw India ramping up its maritime prowess in the strategic waterways in the Indian Ocean region.

Born on July 10, 1951, in a farmer's family at village Babhora in Tehsil Chakia of Varanasi district (now district Chandauli) in Uttar Pradesh, Singh received his basic education in his native place and completed his MSc in Physics from Gorakhpur University.

He worked as a lecturer of Physics at KB Post-Graduate College Mirzapur.

Singh became the RSS karyavah (General Secretary) of Mirzapur city in 1972 and served as the organisational secretary of ABVP Gorakhpur division from 1969 to 1971.

He entered politics in 1974 and in 1977, he was elected as an MLA in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly. Singh was elected as MLC for Uttar Pradesh Legislative Council in 1988 and became Education Minister in 1991.

Singh became a member of the Rajya Sabha in 1994. On November 22, 1999, he became the Union Surface Transport Minister in the Vajpayee government.

Singh became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh on October 28, 2000, and was twice elected as MLA from Haidargarh constituency in Barabanki.

On May 24, 2003, he became Union Minister of Agriculture. Singh assumed charge as BJP national president on December 31, 2005, a post he held till December 19, 2009.

In May 2009, he was elected MP from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh. PTI MPB RT RT

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