NEW DELHI: A teacher-turned-politician Rajnath Singh, who played a major role in steering the NDA-II to power, was sworn-in immediately after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, positioning him number two in the government. Singh, who was seated next to the Prime Minister throughout the oath-taking ceremony, is tipped to be country’s 30th Home Minister in charge of internal security, the second most important portfolio in the Union Cabinet.
Born in 1951 at village Babhora near Varanasi, Rajnath, a science teacher by profession, started his political career in 1974 with Bharatiya Jana Sangh. The Rajnath-Modi combine, the new avatar of previous NDA’s A B Vajpayee-LK Advani (Prime Minister- Home Minister) combination, actually fruited last year when party president Singh declared Modi as the party campaign chief for the 2014 General Elections despite stiff opposition from veteran leaders.
Singh also had to firefight open dissent in the party when on September 13, Modi was declared the BJP Prime Ministerial Candidate. The strong-willed ‘Thakur Saab’, as Rajnath is fondly called in UP, in fact played a crucial role in the party’s unprecedented mandate in UP by fielding Modi from Varanasi and clinching alliance with the Apna Dal. Singh’s rise in national politics had started in 1991 when he became the Education Minister and introduced revolutionary reforms. After a short stint in the Rajya Sabha in 1994-97, he returned to the state as party president to revive its sagging fortune. In May 2003, Singh was included in the NDA-I Cabinet as the Union Minister of Agriculture and subsequently served as the Union Minister for Food Processing. Singh became the BJP president in December 2005, a post he held till 2009. During the 15th Lok Sabha polls, Singh was elected MP from Ghaziabad, UP.