Pushkar Singh Dhami, the 45-year-old new Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, is the hill state's youngest ever Chief Minister. Previously, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank became the youngest leader in the top job when he became Chief Minister at age 49.
Mr Dhami is a two-time BJP MLA who represents Khatima constituency in the hill state's Kumaon region. He is the eleventh Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, and the third in four months after Trivendra Singh Rawat and Tirat Singh Rawat resigned from the post amid infighting.
Mr Dhami is said to be close to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. He was also an Officer on Special Duty to former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari.
Mr Dhami started participating in youth politics for the first time in 1990. Till 1999, he worked with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the BJP's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
The new Chief Minister on his website says he has a good understanding of the issues in his state. After Uttarakhand was formed, he worked as an adviser to the former Chief Minister till 2002.
From then on, he remained chief of the state unit of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha till 2008. During this time, Mr Dhami organised youth rallies and meetings across the state. "As a result of the struggle, the then state government succeeded in getting 70 per cent reservation for the local youth in industries of the state," Mr Dhami says on his website.
The new Chief Minister is known to focus on youth issues, as evident from his bio on his website. "Educated unemployed youth is the main problem of the state today. The youth of the state should get employment opportunities for themselves; this is the main problem to stop migration from villages," Mr Dhami says.
Before the BJP announced Mr Dhami's name today for the top post in the hills state, the names of nearly half-a-dozen MLAs had done the rounds for the top job, including that of Satpal Maharaj, Dhan Singh Rawat, besides Mr Dhami. A section of party leaders also recommended former Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, news agency PTI reported.
The outgoing Chief Minister, Tirath Singh Rawat, took charge in March following fierce dissent against Trivendra Singh Rawat. To keep the post, however, Tirath Singh Rawat had to win an assembly seat by September 10.
Holding a by-election amid the pandemic seemed an increasingly distant possibility as the assembly polls are due in less than a year.