Tech entrepreneur Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Dalit leader A Narayanaswamy and Shobha Karandlaje, all from Karnataka, Wednesday found place in the Union ministry.
RAJEEV CHANDRASEKHAR: Rajeev Chandrasekhar, a tech entrepreneur and a BJP Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, has worked on areas such as urban governance and veteran and armed forces issues.
Serving his third term in the Upper House, the 57-year-old son of a former Air Force officer, entered politics in 2006. In the previous two terms, he was an independent. Chandrasekhar founded BPL Mobile in 1994. He, however, exited the cellular sector in 2005, with BPL valuing at USD 1.1 billion at the time. In 2005, he founded Jupiter Capital, an investment and financial services firm.
Jupiter Capital, which was established with an initial investment of USD100 million, today has investments and managed assets of over USD one billion ranging from technology to transportation, logistical services to hospitality and entertainment, sources close to him said. Chandrasekhar served as the youngest President of industry chamber FICCI in 2008-09.
Born on May 31, 1964, he holds Bachelors in electrical engineering, and Masters in Computer Science from Illinois Institute of Chicago. On completing Masters in 1986, he worked at Intel as Senior Design Engineer and a CPU architect on the “80486 and Pentium Microprocessors” till 1991. Also a philanthropist, his “Flags of Honour Foundation” looks after the families of Armed Forces martyrs, and the “Namma Bengaluru Foundation” partners with city residents and works at grass-roots to highlight and improve the civic and administrative conditions of Bengaluru, according to sources.
Chandrasekhar had also approached the courts to intervene on behalf of citizens in the case of Sec 66A, Aadhaar privacy issues and voting rights for Armed Forces, they said.
A NARAYANASWAMY: A Narayanaswamy, a first time MP who was denied entry into a village in his constituency nearly two years ago as he was a Dalit, on Wednesday found a berth in the Union cabinet. A Lok Sabha member from Chitradurga (SC) constituency, he belongs to the Madiga sect of Dalit community, and has served as MLA from Anekal segment for four times- 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2008.
Narayanaswamy had also served as the Chief Whip of the BJP Legislative Party in the Karnataka assembly in 1998 -1999, and was minister in the BJP government from 2010 to 2013. As an MP, he is currently serving as a Member of the Committee on Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Standing Committee on Water Resources, and Consultative Committee, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
Narayanaswamy is considered close to BJP National General Secretary (Organisation) B L Santosh, and his induction is seen in some political quarters as part of the party’s strategy to further consolidate its “Dalit Left vote base”. Born on 16 May, 1957 in Anekal, he is a BA graduate from Government Arts College, Bengaluru.
In a shocking incident of untouchability, he was prevented from entering Pemmanahalli village, a Gollarahatti (settlement of Golla/Yadavs), in Tumakuru district, which falls under his Lok Sabha constituency, in September 17, 2019 when he had gone there for some development-related work.
SHOBHA KARANDLAJE: An outspoken politician who does not mince words on issues she strongly feels about, Shobha Karandlaje, once considered as a close confidant of state BJP strongman and Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, was a surprise pick in the Union cabinet expansion Wednesday. A two-time Lok Sabha member from Udupi-Chikmagalur, she is also the state BJP vice president. With an RSS background, she has grown through the ranks.
Incidentally, Karandlaje is from the politically-influential Vokkaliga community in southern Karnataka, to which Sadananda Gowda who resigned from the union cabinet today, also belongs to. As someone who had wielded a considerable amount of influence during the previous BJP rule under Yediyurappa, 54-year-old Karandlaje has by and large remained in her constituency in recent times, and there was an element of surprise in her induction.
Born on October 23, 1966 at Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district, her educational qualification includes M.A. (Sociology) and Master of Social Work. She is unmarried. Karandlaje was MLC from 2004 – 2008, MLA from 2008 – 2013, and served as Minister for Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Power, and Food and Civil Supplies during the previous BJP government.
Under attack from dissident MLAs then, led by the mining baron Reddy brothers, for her being accorded “prominence” by chief minister Yediyurappa and her “interfering” with the functioning of other ministries, Karandlaje was forced to resign as minister in November 2009, as the dissidence threatened the stability of the then BJP government. She was, however, inducted back into the cabinet by Yediyurappa in September, 2010.
Karandlaje followed her mentor when Yediyurappa quit the BJP and floated the KJP in 2012 and was appointed its working president. She had unsuccessfully contested the 2013 assembly election from Rajajinagar. However, she along with Yediyurappa returned to BJP fold, and contested the 2014 parliamentary election from Udupi-Chikmagalur constituency as the party’s candidate and won.
Interestingly, unlike last time around, Karandlaje is not seen among the inner circles of Yediyurappa in the present government, amid reports about soured relationship between the two, and the chief minister’s younger son B Y Vijayendra’s growing influence. She was quite vocal on issues such as religious extremism, ‘love jihad’, and alleged killing of Hindu activists.
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