Dehradun: Congress leader Vijay Bahuguna, the new Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, is described by friends as a simple man who loves good food and believes in transparent governance.
Barring political veteran Narayan Dutt Tiwari, rarely has a coronation in Uttarakhand brought smiles on so many faces in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.
But for Bahuguna, son of the late Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna, goodwill comes in aplenty from UP – a state where he was born and where he became a High Court judge in Allahabad.
In the case of the 65-year-old, his goodness and accessibility are what his associates and friends remember fondly.
Rohit Nandan, chairman and managing director of Air India, a first cousin of Bahuguna, speaks of his down to earth persona.
Nandan said that Bahuguna was largely a "pious soul who is at home with his love for food and films. He is a foodie and loves being himself".
Chuckled sister Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who heads the Congress in UP: "My brother is indeed a foodie, a pucca non-vegetarian who loves to dig into white meat."
He was an avid golfer but gave up the sport after suffering slip disc twice when he was in Maharashtra. His childhood name Guddu is a strict no-no.
Family sources say he rebelled against the name when he was 16 and had in fact started becoming unresponsive when called by the name, admitted Rita Bahuguna.
Asked what that one thing was that separated her brother from other politicians, she said: "He is very sincere and pro-labour class. He will go to any extent if it comes to the downtrodden and poor."
As a lawyer and later a judge at the Allahabad High Court, old associates at the Bar remember he was an out and out corporate affairs lawyer but one who never took up cases against trade unions, whatever the price.
Old timers said that Vijay Bahuguna had promised his father, when Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna was the chief minister of UP, that he would never take up cases against the working class.
Father of two sons and a daughter, Vijay Bahuguna takes pride in the "joint family system" and worked hard after the death of his parents to keep the clan together.
"Yes, Vijay bhai, though just two years eight months older to me, is a father figure to me. He is never found wanting in his duties as a brother. His wife Sudha is an added support," Rita Bahuguna said.
Close aides point out that the new Uttarakhand chief minister was a stickler for rules and would go into minutest details in matters put forth to him.
"You cannot dupe him on files. He is transparent and expects everyone to be so," an aide pointed out.
Having served as a lawyer and then high court judge in Allahabad and Mumbai, Bahuguna got his initial grounding in politics in the 70's when his father sent him on political errands around the Paudhi, Garhwal and Kumayun regions as his election agent.
Twice elected to the Lok Sabha on Congress ticket, Bahuguna, many expect, could usher in an era of transparency and pro-poor reforms in Uttarakhand.