Ananth Kumar, a man who never lost an election in 22 years
New Delhi, Nov 12: Six-time lawmaker, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Ananth Kumar died at a private hospital in Bengaluru on Monday was known as an "Invincible politician".
He was known for his skillful administration and strategy-making, and those qualities were identified in him by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who made him a minister in the union cabinet.
Known for his political adroitness, Kumar, a six-time member of Parliament, gregarious with strong political instincts, had managed to be in the inner circle of the central leadership of the BJP -- be it during the heyday of Atal Bihari Vajpayee or L K Advani and now Narendra Modi.
Kumar had become invincible as a politician, and it was difficult to defeat him. In his first electoral fight, he won against Congress nominee Varalakshmi Gundu Rao, wife of former CM R Gundu Rao. He had a cakewalk in most elections as the Congress and JD(S) struggled. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he defeated Infosys co-founder and then UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani by a margin of about 2.3 lakh votes.
Tech Savvy politician
In January 1998, ahead of the General Election that year, Kumar became the first Indian politician to host an independent website when he launched www.dataindia.com and www.ananth.org - a feat which earned him the tag of a tech-savvy leader.
Yougest minister in Vajpayee's cabinet
He was re-elected and was inducted into the Union Cabinet headed by then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the Minister for Civil Aviation and was also the youngest cabinet minister in that government.
Besides Parliamentary Affairs, Ananth Kumar handled the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers. Ananth Kumar rose through the ranks in the BJP, having joined the party after earning a reputation as an adroit political activist with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the students' wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Relationship with BSY
Along with state BJP chief Yeddyurappa, Kumar is among a few party leaders who can be credited for the growth of BJP in Karnataka, as they built the party from the scratch, which paved the way for the installation of the first ever saffron party government in the South.
Ananth Kumar and Yeddyurappa have had a love hate relationship. It is a fact that both are protégé of Yeddyurappa and the Lingayat strongman was initially depending on Ananth Kumar as he was his points person in New Delhi.
After Ananth Kumar came out of Yeddyurappa's shadow they started drifting apart. Yeddyurappa even held him responsible for all his troubles during his chief ministership.The rivalry is said to be one of the reasons for Yeddyurappa to quit the BJP to form the KJP in 2013. However, when Yeddyurappa returned to the BJP, ahead of Lok Sabha polls, Kumar warmly welcomed him back.