Rangarajan Kumaramangalam

Rangarajan Kumaramangalam

Phanindranath Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (May 121952-August 232000) was a prominent politician of the Indian National Congress and later the Bharatiya Janata Party and a Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) from the Salem constituency from 1984 to 1996 and Tiruchirapalli constituency from 1998 to 2000. He served as the Minister of State for Law, Justice and Company Affairs in the Narasimha Rao Government from July 1991 to December 1993 and as the Union Minister for Power in the Vajpayee Government from 1998 to 2000. He was the grandson of former Chief Minister of Madras, P. Subbarayan and the nephew of former Indian Chief of Army, General P. P. Kumaramangalam.

Personal life

Rangarajan was born on May 12, 1952 in a family of distinguished landowners. His grandfather, Subbarayan had served as the Chief Minister of Madras province from 1925 to 1926 and a Cabinet Minister under later Governments. His uncle, General P.P. Kumaramangalam was a veteran of the Second World War and a former Chief of Army Staff while his father Mohan Kumaramangalam was an important theorist and organiser of the undivided Communist Party of India.

Mohan Kumaramangalam drifted away from the CPI after the party split. His quest for a new political identity coincided with Indira Gandhi's rediscovery of socialism in the late-1960s. Mohan Kumaramangalam became one of the principal advisers to the Prime Minister in her populist phase and assumed charge as Union Minister for Steel in 1971. A political career of considerable promise came to a tragic end in May 1973, when he was killed in a plane crash near Delhi. Ranga then was a mere 21. In her memoirs published in 1991, Raj Thapar, a one-time political associate of Mohan Kumaramangalam, recounts how Ranga took his loss with stoic calm. As mourners gathered at the family residence in Delhi, he delivered a spontaneous eulogy to his father, focussing principally on his deep and abiding respect for the political values of Jawaharlal Nehru.

Politics

Ranga deeply involved in student politics right from the earliest stages, as one of the founding members of the National Students Union of India (NSUI). By 1973, he had also been elected a member of the All India Congress Committee. In 1977, on obtaining a degree from Delhi University, he moved to Madras to practice in labour law. When the Congress was re-elected in 1980, Rangarajan once again began to play an active role in politics winning the 1984 elections from the Salem Lok Sabha constituency.

P.V. Narasimha Rao appointed him Minister of State for Law, Justice and Company Affairs in July 1991. Despite his personal sense of loyalty to Narasimha Rao, Ranga felt himself increasingly at odds with the policy regime that was being introduced in the garb of "economic reforms". Early in 1992, he penned a personal communication to the Prime Minister, expressing his deep reservations about the direction and pace of the reforms. This was followed by rumours that he had put in his resignation as Minister. Ranga was obviously serious even as a Minister about his trade union base and had observed that the perceptions of his constituency were uniformly adverse towards the economic policy package introduced under Narasimha Rao.

In late 1993, Rangarajan was removed as Cabinet Minister. In May 1995, Rangarajan resigned from the primary membership of the Indian National Congress and along with Arjun Singh, N.D.Tiwari, Sheila Dixit and others, founded the Congress(T). However, Rangarajan lost his seat in the 1996 Parliamentary elections during which his new party suffered a crushing defeat. In December 1997, Rangarajan joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. He won from the Tiruchirapalli Lok Sabha constituency in 1998 and 1999 and became one of the torch-bearers of the BJP in Tamil Nadu. He served with distinction as the Union Minister for Power in the Second Vajpayee Ministry from 1998 to 1999 and in the Third Vajpayee Ministry from 1999 until his death in 2000.

Death

Rangarajan died on August 23, 2000 at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences at the age of 48 after a grim battle against acute myeloid leukemia (blood cancer). It has been alleged that the death has been the result of negligence shown by doctors at the Apollo Hospital or even poisoning. Following his death, his sister Lalitha Kumaramangalam stood for election on a BJP ticket from the Pondicherry Lok Sabha constituency in the 2004 Parliamentary elections and lost.

References

External links

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