Patna, May 30 (IANS) An articulate and sophisticated spokesman for the BJP, Ravi Shankar Prasad was a key aide to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his deputy L.K. Advani and later a confidant of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who retained him in his cabinet after returning to power in the 2019 polls.
The Supreme Court lawyer-turned-politician first shot to fame in the mid-1990s when he pleaded cases against then Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad in the fodder scam. It was Ravi Shankar Prasad and two others who filed a PIL demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation into the scam.
Prasad, 65, termed himself “Patna ka ladka” as he contested Lok Sabha polls – for the first time – from Patna Sahib seat after four terms in the Rajya Sabha. He won with a big margin, defeating actor-turned-politician and sitting MP Shatrughan Sinha, who had switched over to the Congress.
Born and brought up in Patna in an educated Kayasth family, he was active in student politics since his days in Patna University. Prasad always had a strong leaning towards right-wing politics since his father Thakur Prasad was a Jan Sangh leader, who played an important role in establishing it in the state. As an ABVP leader, he joined the anti-Emergency agitation on the call by veteran leader Jai Prakash Narayan.
Unlike other RSS leaders, Prasad was fluent in English and it was this that helped to draw Vajpayee and Advani’s attention to him as the BJP gained national prominence in the 1990s. Made a member of BJP National Executive, the party’s top policymaking body, in 1995, he was inducted into the Vajpayee government in 2001.
Made party spokesperson in 2006, he was, for over two decades, the face of the BJP in TV debates. He did not hang up his legal robes, for he appeared as the counsel for “Ram Lalla” (deity) in the Ram Janambhoomi-Babri Masjid title suit case before the Allahabad High Court.
Made a minister in the Modi government when it came to power in 2014, he held various key portfolios including Communications, Information Technology, and Law and Justice.