An agriculturist by profession, Anant Kumar Hegde is a five-time BJP Lok Sabha MP from Uttara Kannada in Karnataka. At the young age of 27, he was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time — he defeated sitting Congress MP Margaret Alva — and has never lost an election since. He was appointed Minister of State for Skill Development. He has served as member of the parliamentary standing committees on finance, home affairs, human resource development, commerce, agriculture and external affairs. He has also been a member of the Spices Board of India for four terms.
Hegde, who was a RSS member in his young days and later an ABVP activist, rose through the ranks in the aftermath of Babri Masjid demolition. He was in the news in January this year for allegedly assaulting doctors at a private hospital in Sirsi, over the alleged delay in treating to his mother. Sirsi police had registered a suo motu case against Hegde on the basis of evidence from CCTV footage.
The young Hindutva face is expected to play a vital role when the Karnataka state Assembly goes to the polls next year.
He faced his first case of rioting, unlawful assembly and promoting enmity in 1993, when he was allegedly part of a rioting mob in Bhatkal. In 1994, he caught the attention of RSS by dodging prohibitory orders in Hubli, north Karnataka and raised the Tricolour flag at disputed Idgah Maidan on Independence Day. In March 2016, a case was filed against him in Sirsi for hate speech after he remarked at a press conference, “As long as there is Islam, there will be no peace in the world.”