Himachal Pradesh's new chief minister Jairam Thakur, who took oath to office on Wednesday, has emerged as a surprise leader for the hilly state.
The five-time MLA, Thakur is the first chief minister from Mandi, the second largest district of the state.
A soft-spoken man, Thakur’s strength is that he is seen as a leader who has managed to straddle the party’s warring factions in the state.
Hailing from a humble background, Thakur was born into an agricultural family in Mandi district in 1965. He holds an MA from Panjab University in Chandigarh.
At 28 years of age, he contested the 1993 Assembly polls from Seraj on a BJP ticket and lost. In 1998, he was given a ticket again and won decisively and went on to repeat the feat four more times on the trot from the same constituency.
He, however, lost the Mandi Lok Sabha bypoll to Virbhadra Singh’s wife Prathibha Singh in 2013.
In 2008, he was made Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister in the Dhumal government. He also held the post of Himachal Pradesh BJP president between 2007 and 2009.
Considered a consensus builder in faction-ridden unit of the BJP, Thakur is said to have played a key role in the BJP won 16 seats in his region.
He is married to ABVP colleague Sadhana Thakur and they have two daughters. Sadhana is a doctor and a Kannadiga who was born and brought up in Jaipur.
The BJP ousted the Congress from power by winning 44 of the 68 seats in fray.