Dehra Dun: Harish Rawat, who narrowly missed out being Chief Minister after Congress` victory in Uttarakhand in 2012, always had his heart in the politics of the state and had even rebelled when he was overlooked.
Rawat, who will turn 66 in April, was the front-runner to become Uttarakhand CM when Congress won the Assembly elections in 2012. However, the party high command appointed Vijay Bahuguna- known to be close to the Gandhi family- to the post. Rawat was made the Water Resources Minister in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s cabinet.
However, many feel the Haridwar MP has now finally got his due. Congress losses in the Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Delhi recently led the party to do a rethink on Bahuguna ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Rawat`s appointment comes at a time when Congress is trying to salvage its image in the hill state. Bahuguna, his critics claim, has failed to reach out to the people and his lacklustre performance in facing the aftermath of massive floods that ravaged the state has left the party embarrassed.
Having the reputation of a hard-working leader, Rawat was made a Minister of State for Labour and Employment in 2009 and later MoS for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries. In July 2011, he was made MoS for Parliamentary Affairs.
He was elevated to the rank of a Cabinet Minister in 2012 in an apparent bid to placate him after Bahuguna was made the CM.
Rawat had earlier served as a member of the Rajya Sabha from 2002-08. He won his first Lok Sabha election in 1980 from Almora by defeating BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi. He won the Lok Sabha polls in 1984 and 1989 as well.
Born on April 27, 1947 in Almora, Rawat started with local politics and rose through the ranks. He has a law degree.