BENGALURU: The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) was the launch pad for H N Ananth Kumar’s political journey. Before entering BJP, he worked as a full-time ABVP worker for 10 years, including his stint as its state secretary and national general secretary.
Although Ananth Kumar was leaning towards pursuing law as a career, the leadership qualities in him impressed leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), who advised him to enter politics.
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“Ananth Kumar shifted from ABVP to BJP in 1987-88. Even there, he worked at the grass root level in the state for 10 years and contested his first elections in 1996,” recalled his college friend, Dr Vishnukanth Chatapalli, who is currently adviser to the National Assessment and Accreditation Council.
Ananth Kumar emerged as a student leader during his Pre-University days in Hubballi, and joined ABVP after the Emergency. He became a full-time ABVP worker in 1977.
Prof PV Krishna Bhat, who was his mentor during the ABVP days, said, “During 1977, when I was on a tour in Hubballi to strengthen the organisation, Ananth Kumar and his friends were the first to meet me. I used to stay at his house in Railway Colony during my tour. His role was important in conducting ABVP’s National Conference at Hubballi in 1981.”
Another associate, MP Kumar, who runs a software company, said his hard work, dynamism and communication skills helped him grow. “He was a good speaker and excelled in Hindi, English and Kannada. This helped him get recognition at the national level,” he added.As an ABVP activist, he led agitations like Save Education, Assam Chalo, and against Ibrahim’s Rolex Watch.
His wife Tejaswini was also an active worker of ABVP, and that is where the two first became friends.
Ananth Kumar had a lively sense of humour and excellent memory. Even after becoming an active politician, he did not forget any ABVP worker who had worked with him.