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A brief biography
- He was born in a middle-class Brahmin family on July 22, 1959, in Bengaluru to Narayan Shastri, a railway employee, and Girija N Shastry. His early education began under the guidance of his mother who herself was a graduate.
- He was a graduate in Arts and Law. His journey into public life began due to his association with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student organisation of the Sangh Pariwar, which he served in various capacities, including the state secretary and the national secretary.
- Kumar had even demonstrated against the then Indira Gandhi government's imposition of Emergency and had also got imprisoned for it for about 30 days.
- Looking for bigger ground in politics, Kumar joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1987, where he went on to take up the responsibilities of the state secretary, state president of the Yuva Morcha, general secretary and national secretary.
- Along with state BJP chief Yeddyurappa, Kumar was among a few party leaders who can be credited for the growth of BJP in Karnataka, as they built the party from the scratch, which paved the way for the installation of the first-ever saffron party government in the South.
- Kumar began his parliamentary career when he got elected to Lok Sabha in 1996 from Bangalore South, the constituency which remained his strong fort till his passing sway, by winning it for six consecutive times.
- He enjoyed the credit of being the "youngest" minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee's cabinet in 1998. He served as the civil aviation minister, also minister for tourism, sports, youth affairs & culture, urban development & poverty alleviation.
- Kumar, who also held positions in various parliamentary committees, was serving as the Union Cabinet Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Chemicals and Fertilizers in the Narendra Modi led government, after winning the 15th Lok Sabha election from Bengaluru south by defeating IT Czar Nandan Nilekani.
- He was widely credited for implementing Neem Coated Urea and setting up of Jan Aushadhi Kendras with focus on affordable quality health care.
- Kumar was the chief patron of Adamya Chetana, an NGO involved in social work which he runs along with his wife in the memory of his mother Girija Shastry.