HYDERABAD: Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu is a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka but has been made a cabinet minister from the Andhra Pradesh quota.
Naidu, a good orator who served as president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) between 2002 and 2004, is one of the senior most leaders of the BJP in Andhra Pradesh.
Hailing from Nellore district in south coastal Andhra, the 64-year-old has become the cabinet minister for the second time. He was minister for rural development in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
Naidu was associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) from an early age. He was also a student leader and later championed the cause of farmers.
Naidu, who holds a degree in law, was attracted by the JP movement and formed the Loknayak Jai Prakash Chhatra Sangharsha Samithi in 1974.
Contesting his maiden election as a Janata Party candidate, he was elected to the state assembly in 1978 from Udayagiri in Nellore district.
He was jailed during the Emergency (1975-77). When the Janata Party was formed on the eve of the 1977 general elections, he became the state president of the Janata Yuva Morcha.
After a three-year stint, he joined the BJP in 1980. Naidu was re-elected to the state assembly in 1983 and was the floor leader of the three-member BJP group in the house in 1980-85.
Though he later emerged as a BJP leader at the national level and served as the party's general secretary and its spokesman, he did not enjoy mass support. He contested thrice for the Lok Sabha but was unsuccessful.
He was first elected to the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka in 1998 and re-elected in 2004 and 2010.