Profile: Rajnath Singh returns to familiar political terrain
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Currently a Lok Sabha member from Ghaziabad, Singh has emerged from the ranks as a political heavyweight in the party largely due to his proximity to BJP's spiritual mentor RSS.
After taking over BJP's reins from veteran leader L K Advani in December 2005, Rajnath Singh sought to rebuild the party by focusing on basic Hindutva ideologies and said there would be "no compromise" on building the Ram Temple in Ayodhya.
However, he not only failed to steer the party to power in the 2009 general elections but BJP's poll tally dropped by 22 seats compared to 2004 Lok Sabha polls.
Born on July 10, 1951 at Bhabhaura village in Uttar Pradesh's Chandauli district, Singh obtained MSc degree in physics from Gorakhpur University and was appointed lecturer in the K B Post graduate degree college in Mirzapur in 1971.
Singh's association with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh began in 1964 when he was only 13 year old. Even as lecturer he remained attached to RSS.
Rising step by step, he began his political innings with BJP's student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in 1969 as its organising secretary in Gorakhpur and rose to become the secretary of the then Bharatiya Jan Sangh's Mirzapur unit in 1974.
During the Emergency, Singh joined Jaiprakash Narayan's movement and was arrested in July 1975 before being released in 1977.
Singh made his debut in electoral politics when he became an MLA in Uttar Pradesh in 1977. In 1983, he became state Secretary of BJP and a year later he found himself leading the Uttar Pradesh unit of BJP's Youth Wing (BJYM).
His political rise continued with his elevation as National General Secretary of BJYM in 1986 and subsequently its National President in 1988.
In the same year, Singh was elected Member, Legislative Council in UP, a position he held till 1994, serving in between as Education Minister in the Kalyan Singh government until it was dismissed in December 1992 following the Babri Masjid demolition.
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