Biography of Rangarajan Kumaramangalam

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Indian Politician Rangarajan Kumaramangalam Biography
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Phanindranath Rangarajan Kumaramangalam (May 12, 1952 – August 23, 2000) 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.

Rangarajan Kumaramangalam 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.

Rangarajan Kumaramangalam Personal life

Rangarajan was born on May 12, 1952 in a family of Zamindars of Thiruchengode. His grandfather Paramasiva Subbarayan was the Chief Minister of Madras province from 1925 to 1926 and a Cabinet Minister under later Governments.

Rangarajan Kumaramangalam 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. His mother, Kalyani Mukherjee, belonged to one of West Bengal’s famous political dynasties.

Rangarajan Kumaramangalam Politics

Ranga was deeply involved in student politics right from the earliest stages, as one of the founding members and the first president of the National Students Union of India (NSUI). It was no less a person than Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, whose great personal favourite he was, who called him to take up this post after going through due process.
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By 1973, he had also been elected a member of the All India Congress Committee. In 1977, on obtaining a degree from Kirori Mal College, Delhi University, he moved to Madras to practice in labour law. When the Congress was re-elected in 1980, Rangarajan was asked by his very dear friend, soon-to-be-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, to play an active role in politics.

Rangarajan Kumaramangalam contested and won the 1984 elections from 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 resigned 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.

Rangarajan Kumaramangalam served with distinction as the Union Minister for Power and Parliamentary Affairs, holding additional charge of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, and Mines, in the Second Vajpayee Ministry from 1998 to 1999 and in the Third Vajpayee Ministry from 1999 until his death in 2000.

One of the most charismatic and brilliant leaders in post independent India, Ranga was loved and respected across party lines. His capacity to get bills passed in parliament was unmatched, because of this unique quality.

Additionally, he was one of that rare breed of Indian leaders who delivered on his promises, never forgetting the welfare of the common rural Indian, and the farmer, while, simultaneously, propelling mega power projects forward with matchless administrative and managerial capability.

Rangarajan Kumaramangalam 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[who?] 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.