Ananth Kumar: Six-term Lok Sabha veteran at 54 (Profile)
Born in Bangalore in July 1959, Ananth Kumar is a parliamentary veteran, having won from the prestigious Bangalore South constituency in Karnataka consecutively for six terms since 1996.
In the latest battle against Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani, Ananth Kumar, a civil aviation minister in the Vajpayee government, again emerged winner with a margin of over 228,000 votes.
Ananth Kumar's moorings into politics were early. While pursuing a bachelor's degree in arts and then a law degree, he was an office bearer of the ABVP, the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). At 30, he was named the ABVP's national secretary.
Within two years of his first entry into the Lok Sabha, he was appointed the civil aviation minister - and it is here that he made a mark.
He oversaw the framing of policy for the country's first real public-private partnership in the civil aviation space, the Kempegowda International Airport in Bangalore. The detailing of this project was considered so thorough that it became a model that was successfully replicated in more such projects across the country, notably in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee also entrusted him with other portfolios such as tourism, sports and youth affairs, culture, urban development and poverty alleviation during the six years his government was in office (1998-2004).
Some of his notable contributions include the Bangalore metro project, the inclusion of the city in the Golden Quadrilateral highway network, setting up the Modern Art Gallery in the city, and building a cargo-handling facility for perishables that put Bangalore on the global map for export of flowers, fruits and vegetables.
In 2004, Ananth Kumar was named the national general secretary of his party and was given charge of Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
He was also named chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on external affairs in 2010 and held that post till the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha. This was a post that also took him to the UN General Assembly where he spoke in Kannada.
Married to Tejaswini, the couple has two daughters -- Aishwarya and Vijetha.
(Posted on 26-05-2014)