Leading the charge of the BJP's Uttar Pradesh unit in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, chess enthusiast Mahendra Nath Pandey has been rewarded for his checkmate against a united opposition in the state.
He took oath as a cabinet minister on Thursday.
Mr Pandey, who served as a Union minister of state (MoS) in the Ministry of Human Resource Development between 2016 and 2017, was given the responsibility of the BJP's Uttar Pradesh unit in 2017 after the party's massive win in the assembly elections.
Mr Pandey, a Brahmin, played a significant role in wooing the upper caste in favour of the BJP ahead of the crucial general elections.
He has a post-graduate degree in journalism and a PhD in Hindi from the Banaras Hindu University. Mr Pandey, born on October 15, 1957, was elected the students' union president of CM Anglo Bengali College and the general secretary of the students' union of the Banaras Hindu University.
Mr Pandey took active part in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and was charged under the National Security Act by the Mulayam Singh Yadav government in the state.
He was elected to the UP Assembly for the first time in 1991 and then in 1996. Mr Pandey served as a state minister between 1998 and 2000, and between 2000 and 2002.
He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Chandauli in 2014, and in 2016, in a major cabinet reshuffle, Mr Pandey took oath as MoS in the Human Resource Development in the Narendra Modi government.
Mr Pandey, who likes listening to classical music and old songs, takes a keen interest in chess.