Advani loyalist Ananth Kumar gets into Modi cabinet
As expected, BJP national General Secretary and former Union Minister H N Ananth Kumar, who won for a record sixth time won from Bangalore South, has been inducted into the union cabinet by Prime minister Narendra Modi.
The 54-year-old BJP leader, known for his strong RSS background, hails from a middle class Brahmin family. Coming through the hard grind in the party the RSS swayamsevak achieved a prominent post in the BJP, becoming National General secretary.
Both Kumar and former Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, known for their personal rivalry, have been the two most prominent leaders of the saffron party in the state. While the latter became the Chief Minister Kumar gained strength at the central leadership of the party in Delhi. While Yeddyurappa rose using the peoples' support, Mr Kumar had the cushion of being promoted by the party, which rightly rewarded for his hard work for nearly two decades that culminated in BJP gaining power for the first time down the Vindhyas, in Karnataka, during 2008.
Riding on the Modi wave, Kumar reigned supreme winning the high-profile poll battle with Congress candidate and Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani winning by a surprisingly huge 2.28 lakh votes.
Meanwhile, Kumar's five consecutive Lok Sabha wins from the segment had catapulted him to be the major BJP leader in the country. However, he had to struggle last time, in 2009 when he faced young Congress leader Krishna Byregowda and won by just 30,000 votes.
The clash against Nilekani was dubbed as a close and fierce battle, but Kumar escaped unscathed as BJP swept all the three Lok Sabha seats in the tech-hub of Bangalore this time.
In the heat of campaign, Kumar had proclaimed that the BJP government, if elected to power, will scrap the 'Aadhar' for which Mr Nilekani was the chief.
Earlier in his political career, Kumar rose from a lower rank of a RSS swayamsevak. But his lineage in the saffron party always kept him in a good stead.
Hailing from Hubli city in North Karnataka, he came to Bangalore to pursue studies. He stayed at his elder sister's rented home in the city and persued his studies. He passed BA in Bangalore University and then went to Mysore to pursue LLB in JSS Law college.
Despite a modest beginning, he ensured that his political career progressed well by being prominent in social activities. He was involved almost every protests meetings organised by the BJP in the state. Once he landed the Lok Sabha seat back in 1996 and never looked back. His smooth growth in BJP also helped him become the Housing and Civil Aviation minister in the NDA government.
Kumar's rise in the BJP was mainly due to he being an ardent follower of party patriarch L K Advani through the UPA rule. He was always seen in limelight when it comes to any BJP event in Karnataka or at the national level. This included various stirs launched by the BJP across the country.
Once Modi was declared the BJP prime ministerial candidate ahead of the recent Lok Sabha polls, Kumar ensured that he get close to Mr Modi and participate in all major functions with him in the state and elsewhere.
His penchant to hog the limelight as always kept him at the front in the BJP organisation and he will continue to be its prominent leader.
During the NDA rule he was the urban development minister and had to face the HUDCO scam. He later became the Civil Aviation under prime minister A B Vajpayee. During his tenure he had to face corruption charges and the charges still remain in the courts.
In his early life, Kumar was imprisoned during 'emergency' days.
Having been influenced by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, he was a member of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the students wing of the BJP.
During the Emergency, he was imprisoned along with thousands of other student activists. He was elected as the State Secretary of the ABVP and later, became its National Secretary in 1985. He later joined BJP and was nominated as the State President of BJP Yuva Morcha. He was then made National Secretary of the party in 1996.
(Posted on 27-05-2014)