DEHRADUN: Mahendra Bhatt, the newly-appointed president of the Uttarakhand unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is an able organiser, a staunch Rambhakt, and an avid traveller at heart.
His elevation to the top party post in Uttarakhand was announced by the Central party leadership on Saturday.
He actively participated in the Ram Janmabhoomi movement and spent 15 days in the Kanskhet jail of Pauri in 1991.
Recalling his prison days, Bhatt says, “Those days strengthen our collective resolve. It was not only me but thousands of our workers including our senior leaders Atal ji, Advani ji and Murli Manohar Joshi ji who went to jail.”
Terming the appointment as a “huge responsibility”, Bhatt feels “honoured”. “I will try to give my best,” he tells The New Indian.
The former legislator also participated in the Uttarakhand statehood agitation when he was detained for five days.
Known for his top-notch organisational skills, Bhatt is a product of student politics. As a student, he held many key positions in the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of BJP’s ideological mentor RSS, between 1991 and 1996.
Later, he formally joined the BJP and was appointed the state secretary of its youth wing – Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM) in 2000. In 2002, he was later promoted to the post of BJYM president of Uttarakhand which he held till 2004.
Bhatt worked as BJP state secretary between 2007 and 2010, and again between 2015 and 2020.
He contested the state Assembly polls four times and emerged victorious on two occasions – from Nandprayag seat in 2002 and Badrinath constituency in 2017.
He was also appointed as chief whip of the state party legislature for five years – from 2002 to 2007.
Bhatt was also given the responsibility as the party in charge of elections in Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, and Maharashtra.
Born in ‘Brahman Thala’ village of Chamoli in August 1971, he took primary education in a local government school and moved to Rishikesh for higher studies.
Known as a backpacker among his peers in the party, Bhatt has travelled the length and breadth of the country.