Faggan Singh Kulaste: Tribal face of MP and BJP’s man for all seasons

New Delhi : Faggan Singh Kulaste, Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Mandla (Scheduled Tribes) reserved constituency in Madhya Pradesh, belongs to the class of politicians who have struggled hard to survive in politics.

Born in 1959, the 57-year-old lawmaker, was on Tuesday sworn-in as Minister of State in the Union council of ministers.

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Kulaste made news in 2008 when he and another colleague claimed that they had been “bribed” to vote in favour of the Manmohan Singh government in the trial of strength in the Lok Sabha in July that year.

The scandal later came to be known as the “cash-for-votes” scam.

In effect, BJP watchers say Kulaste is actually a party’s disciplined man for all seasons.

In October 1999, Kulaste as Lok Sabha member was inducted as Minister of State Parliamentary Affairs in the Atal Behari Vajpayee government but later was moved as Minister of State for Tribal Affairs.

Otherwise a man of few words, Kulaste has also been the party’s voice in taking up issues concerning the Scheduled Castes and the Schedules Tribes.

Heading the Parliamentary Committee on the Welfare of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, Kulaste and his colleagues earlier this year in a parliamentary report said that elite educational institutes like the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) should have no place for caste discrimination, but the malady prevails in an “overt and covert” manner in the premier varsity.

Kulaste has been a key tribal leader in Madhya Pradesh and was earlier elected to the Lok Sabha in 1996 (11th Lok Sabha) and subsequently also in the 12th (1998), 13th (1999) and the 14th Lok Sabha (2004).

A holder of Master’s degree and a law graduate, Kulaste’s profession in the Lok Sabha website is described as an agriculturist, teacher and a political and a social worker.