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Jigajinagi, a tall Dalit leader from Karnataka

New Delhi : Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi, 64, who took oath as Union Minister of State in New Delhi on Tuesday, is a five-time BJP lawmaker from Bijapur Lok Sabha constituency in north Karnataka.

A tall Dalit leader in the state, Jigajinagi is the only BJP parliamentary member from the 28 reserved constituencies for Scheduled Castes (SCs) in southern India.

A post-graduate in Arts, the veteran politician entered Parliament for the first time in 1998 by defeating former Union Minister B. Shankaranand of the Congress in the 12th Lok Sabha mid-term poll and retained the seat since then by winning in the 1999, 2004, 2009 and 2014 elections consecutively.

“The party’s state leaders had suggested Jigajinagi’s name to party president Amit Shah for inducting into the Union Cabinet as a face of the Dalit community in the state,” a party official told IANS here.

Before entering national politics, Jigajinagi was the party’s three-time lawmaker in the state legislative assembly from Bijapur (Vijayapura) since 1983 and held the portfolios of home, excise, social welfare and revenue in the erstwhile Janata Dal governments.

Jigajinagi has also been a member of the various parliamentary standing committees, including Home Affairs, External Affairs, Defence, Commerce, Human Resources and Food and Consumer Affairs for over a decade.

BJP’s lawmakers from Bengaluru North and Bengaluru South Lok Sabha seats D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Ananth Kumar and Davanagere Lok Sabha seat G.M. Siddeshwara are the other three Union ministers from the southern state.