Shobha Karandlaje rises up the ranks, secures a place in Modi cabinet
Shobha has served as minister in the Karnataka State Cabinet and her election also means that a representative of the coastal Carnataka is part of the Union Cabinet.
Udupi-Chikkamagaluru and Vice President of BJP Karnataka MP Shobha Karandlaje was inducted into the Union Cabinet on Wednesday as part of the first reshuffle of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second term. She is one of the state’s three female MPs, along with independent BJP candidate Sumalatha Ambareesh and Mangala Angadi. Shobha has served as a minister in the state cabinet and her election also means that a representative from the Karnataka coast is part of the union cabinet. She won the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 by a huge 3.49 lakh votes, the largest lead for a candidate from Karnataka.
Reports had previously indicated that the BJP was seeking to raise a leader from the Vokkaliga community, and Pratap Simha, the Mysuru MP, was the other name in the race. But the party has decided to leave the cabinet post to Shobha Karandlaje.
A member of the ABVP, then the Rashtra Seva Samiti (women’s wing of the RSS) and finally the leader of the BJP Shobha has grown in the party over the years. Shobha, known as BS Yediyurappa’s protégé, first became a member of the Karnataka Legislative Council in 2004. In 2008 she became a member of the Yeshwanthpur constituency. She has held several portfolios in the Karnataka government, including food and civil supplies, energy and rural development, and Panchayat Raj. She met fierce opposition from some of her male colleagues in the cabinet and was forced to resign in 2009 as a compromise between Yediyurappa and his rival in the party – Janardhana Reddy.
She had left the BJP along with Yediyurappa and a few others and joined the KJP in 2012 and worked as the party’s labor president. In 2014 she made a comeback in the BJP. She was then elected to parliament for two consecutive terms.
Shobha Karandlaje has sought her fair share of controversy while serving as a MP for Udupi-Chikkamagaluru. Shobha not only fought the perception in Udupi that she had been neglecting the constituency since 2014, but was also summoned for several false statements to heighten local tensions in the state.
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In 2017, she was charged by Honnavar police with inciting hostility between two communities after falsely claiming that “jihadis” raped a 14-year-old girl and tried to kill her. She was booked again in December 2017 for inciting rioting, disrupting community harmony and spreading rumors of the rape and murder of a Dalit girl in Vijayapura.
In January 2020, she was booked by Kerala police after falsely claiming that Hindu families in Malappuram were not being given water in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). In May 2021, a complaint was filed against her with the Pandeshwar Police in Mangaluru for falsely claiming that Christians were against vaccines.
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