Ravishankar Prasad, one of the most articulate BJP leaders and a familiar face in TV debates, returns to the union cabinet with a bagful of experience having been in charge of various portfolios for four years under Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.
Ravishankar Prasad began his political career as a fiery student leader in Patna University under the leadership of Lalu Prasad, who was then its general secretary but it was natural for him to turn to BJP as his father Thakur Prasad, himself a prominent lawyer, was one of the founding members of Jan Sangh.
Born in an upper caste Kayastha family on August 30, 1954, Ravishankar did his graduation and obtained masters in Political Science and LLB degree from Patna University.
Ravishankar started off as a student leader in 1970s organising protests against Indira Gandhi’s government. He took an active part in 1974 JP movement and was jailed during the Emergency.
During his college days, he was Assistant General Secretary of Patna University Students Union with Lalu Prasad as the President.
Practising law at Patna High Court since 1980, he was designated senior advocate at Patna High Court in 1999 and senior advocate of the Supreme Court in 2000.
Prasad was the main lawyer who argued on a PIL against RJD chief Lalu Prasad in multi-crore rupee fodder scam case. He also represented BJP veteran L K Advani in hawala case. In 2010, Prasad was a lawyer in the longstanding Ayodhya title suit and appeared before the Allahabad High Court.
Prasad was made Union Minister of State for Coal and Mines in 2000 in Vajpayee ministry and was given additional charge as MOS of Law and Justice in July 2002. He was credited with speeding up the process of fast-track courts.
Later, as a minister of Information and Broadcasting in NDA rule, he began reforms in radio, television and animation sections. He is also credited with establising Goa as the permanent site for International Film Festival of India.
In BJP’s 10-year spell out of power since 2004, Ravishankar Prasad has been its prominent public face of the party, articulating its stand on key issues as its main spokesperson for many years.
He was elected for a third term in Rajya Sabha from Bihar in 2012.
Ravishankar Prasad’s sister Anuradha Prasad, a mediaperson, is married to Congress leader and former IPL Chairman Rajeev Shukla.