Firebrand Shobha Karandlaje - from RSS to Modi 3.0 govt

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Shobha Karandlaje takes oath as Union Cabinet Minister in the Modi Cabinet 2024

Shobha Karandlaje takes oath as Union Cabinet Minister in the Modi Cabinet 2024

Bengaluru: An outspoken politician from the RSS background who does not mince words when it comes to contentious issues like religious extremism, Shobha Karandlaje, a close confidante of state BJP strongman B S Yediyurappa, has once again secured a place in the union government.

A three-time Lok Sabha member, she was a surprise pick to the union council of ministers, during the rejig of the previous Modi government in 2021, and served as the Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.

Karandlaje, who is quite vocal on issues such as religious extremism, and 'love jihad', is from the politically-influential Vokkaliga community in Karnataka. She earlier served as a cabinet minister in Karnataka and as state BJP vice president.

The 57-year-old won from Bangalore North Lok Sabha segment by a margin of 2,59,476, defeating M V Rajeev Gowda of the Congress, and became the IT capital Bengaluru's first ever woman MP.

She had won the last two two Lok Sabha polls from Udupi-Chikkamagaluru Lok Sabha segments, but was shifted to Bangalore North this time following -- "Go back Shobha" -- campaign against her in the segment from certain elements, including those allegedly from within the party.

Karandlaje was born in Charvaka village close to taluka-headquarters town Puttur in Karnataka's Dakshina Kannada district, on 23 October 23, 1966 to the late Monappa Gowda and Poovakka.

Her educational qualification includes MA (Sociology) and Master of Social Work. She is unmarried.

She joined the RSS at a very early age and became a full-time volunteer of the Sangh Parivar.

Karandlaje's political career began in 1996 from Udupi, as general secretary of Udupi District BJP Mahila Morcha, and later she served as the state secretary and general secretary of Mahila Morcha.

Karandlaje was an MLC from 2004 to 2008, MLA from 2008 to 2013, and served as Minister for Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Power, and Food and Civil Supplies during the first BJP government in the state.

As someone who wielded a considerable amount of influence during the first BJP rule in the state under Yediyurappa (2008-2011), Karandlaje has by-and-large remained confined to her constituency and her ministerial duties in recent times.

Under attack from dissident MLAs then, led by the mining baron Reddy brothers, for her being accorded "prominence" by the then 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 unsuccessfully contested the 2013 assembly election from Rajajinagar.

However, she along with Yediyurappa returned to the BJP fold, and contested the 2014 parliamentary election from Udupi-Chikmagalur constituency as the party's candidate and won.

This time, Karandlaje managed to secure a Lok Sabha ticket and, having won the seat, a ministerial berth, thanks to her RSS connection and her Hindutva idealogue image as well as her work, a BJP functionary said.