Pon. Radhakrishnan, the only minister from Tamil Nadu in the Narendra Modi government, has his political roots in the RSS in the late 1970s, when Kanyakumari district witnessed political mobilisation on religious lines.
Born into a rich family at Alathankarai in the district, Mr. Radhakrishnan, a lawyer by training, quit the profession to become a full-time politician. He worked closely with Rama Gopalan when he launched the Hindu Munnani.
Mr. Gopalan organised a series of Hindu Unity conferences in the 1980s in the district, and on one occasion, the ban on a procession resulted in police firing. One person was killed.
The Mandaikadu riots and the conferences organised by the Hindu Munnani led to Hindu assertion in the district, and the RSS launched its activities in many villages. The district first elected V. Balachandran, a candidate supported by the Hindu Munnani, in the 1984 Assembly elections from Padmanabhapuram.
Mr. Radhakrishnan functioned as office-secretary of the Hindu Munnani, before becoming an active leader of the BJP. He was general secretary of the party in the district and became the zonal coordinator of Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts.
He held the post of vice-president of the State BJP before elevated as the president, a position he holds for the second term.
Mr. Radhakrishnan has contested in seven elections but was elected only twice — once in 1999 when he was accommodated in the A.B. Vajpayee government, and now in 2014. In the 2011 Assembly polls, he contested from Nagercoil, but could not retain his deposit.