Lucknow : For Dinesh Sharma, the affable mayor of Lucknow, it was a slow and steady rise to the post of the deputy chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.
The 53-year-old professor in Lucknow University's Commerce department has been a member of the BJP since long, but emerged on the central stage with his appointment as the BJP's national vice president in August 2014 after the party's landslide victory in the parliamentary polls.
It was after he was made in-charge of the party affairs in Gujarat, Sharma's stature in the party grew immensely.He also won over the trust of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah during his stint in their native state, Gujarat.
Party insiders say that ever since a godman presented him a garland with a blessing that "red beacon" will never leave him, Sharma became the Lucknow mayor for the second term.He was first elected as the mayor of Lucknow in 2008. He contested the re-election in 2012 and defeated his nearest rival, Neeraj Bora of the Congress by over 1.71 lakh votes.
Sharma has the backing of the RSS and it is said that Sangh ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhaya often visited his parental home in the state capital.