From the world of politics to cricket to big business, Rajiv Shukla has friends everywhere which should stand him in good stead as MoS for parliamentary affairs, says Sheela Bhatt
The new minister of state for parliamentary affairs Rajiv Shukla started his career in Kanpur as a journalist with a Hindi daily before coming to New Delhi and getting involved in the Congress's internal politics.
Shukla, who joined Rajiv Gandhi when the Congress's chips were down, got close to the former prime minister and was part of his inner circle. Shukla rose fast in the party thanks to his political savvy, and few senior editors know Congress leaders as well as he does. Although friendly with most editors, he is able to keep his party's secrets intact. He is considered close to Priyanka Gandhi, as well.
The Rajya Sabha member counts among his friends Jyotiraditya Scindia and many corporate heads, including Reliance's Mukesh Ambani and United Brewery's Vijay Mallya.
Shukla was also clever enough to shape his public identity by joining the world of cricket where as vice president of the Board for Control of Cricket in India, he presides over the destiny of the game along with Sharad Pawar and Arun Jaitley.
What will stand Shukla in good stead as minister for parliamentary affairs will be his ability to communicate across party lines and get along with most political parties.
Thanks to his affable nature, Shukla has friends in the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Nationalist Congress Party and many other regional parties.
His wife Anuradha Prasad heads the Bhagvan Allah God (BAG) Films that produces films, TV serials and owns a Hindi channel. Anuradha is the sister of BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad.