Ananth Kumar’s demise a set back for the BJP for its long planned southern sojourn
New Delhi, Nov 12: Demise of senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Union cabinet minister Ananth Kumar is a big blow for the party when the party has not only eying more and more space down south but also going through a difficult time in Karnataka from where he belonged to. His demise is a big loss for party's organisational and parliamentary needs.
Ananth Kumar has always been counted as the man of organisation and has always had important assignment to his credit. His was appointed president of Karnataka unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2003 making a success story in the southern state when the BJP became single largest party in the Legislative Assembly and had won the highest number of Lok Sabha seats in 2004 Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka. For this feat of Anant Kumar in 2004, he was entrusted with the responsibility of National general secretary of the party and had contributed building the party in MP, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and a few other states.
A hardcore Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker with being member of its student wing - the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. Imprisoned during Emergency along with thousands of other student activists by the then Indira Gandhi government. He rose to become state secretary of the ABVP and later became its national secretary in 1985. Anant Kumar was asked to join the BJP and made state president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha who was later sent to the central BJP team as the national secretary in 1996.
For the first time, he was elected to Lok Sabha from Bengaluru (South) constituency in 1996 and got re-elected to become Union cabinet minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government as the Minister for Civil Aviation. He has the credit of being the youngest cabinet minister in that government. In 1999, He was elected to the third consecutive term and became and also appointed as a cabinet minister in the National Democratic Alliance government taking up responsibilities of various ministries like tourism, sports and youth affairs, culture, urban development and poverty alleviation.
Widely credited for implementing neem (margo) coated urea and setting up of Jan Aushadhi Kendras with focus on affordable quality health care, he was an all-important member of the BJP's parliamentary board. Ananth Kumar is often regarded as the southern face of the BJP after vice president M Venkaiya Naidu.
His hostile relationship with former chief minister of Karnataka B S Yeddyurappa has been in the public domain for long who often accused him of meddling too much in Karnataka affairs when Yeddyurappa was at the helm of affairs in the state as chief minister. His untimely death has been a set back fort the BJP which was banking more on him for his role in southern India with party's more focus in the region
Despite being from a non-Hindi speaking state, Ananth Kumar preferred interacting with media in Hindi in Delhi and helping other non-Hindi speaking journalist with English comments. On May 26, 2014, Kumar was appointed minister of chemicals and fertilizers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet with additional responsibility of parliamentary affairs.