Hailing from the titular family of Vizianagaram, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MP Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati, a seven- time MLA in Andhra Pradesh, gives a "Royal Touch" to the Narendra Modi cabinet.
Ashok, who was elected from Vizianagaram, is the only member from the Lok Sabha to make it to the cabinet rank from residual Andhra Pradesh.
He followed the footsteps of his father in politics. His father Dr.P V G Raju, Raja Saheb of Vizianagaram, was an ex-MP, who was in public life for over 40 years.
Ashok was first elected to Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 1978 as a Janata Party candidate.
He has been a member of the Telugu Desam Party since its inception in 1982 under the leadership of Telugu superstar and late Chief Minister N T Rama Rao, and was elected to the Assembly for the second time in 1983. He won subsequent elections in 1985, 1989, 1994 and 1999.
He was a Minister in Rao's cabinet and was inducted into the cabinet of N Chandrababu Naidu as well. Presently, Ashok is in the politburo of TDP.
The 63-year-old veteran TDP leader defeated YSR Congress candidate Venkata Swetha Chalapathi Kumara Krishna Rangarao Ravu by a margin of 1,06,911 votes in the just concluded elections. The only time he lost an election was in 2004 but bounced back in 2009.
Ashok's family is known for philanthropic activities in north coastal Andhra Pradesh, donating land for educational institutions in Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts.
Raju founded the Maharajah Alak Narayan Society of Arts and Science [MANSAS] with a view to confound socio-academic inequalities. As a part of realizing his socialistic ideals, the late Raju endowed almost all his properties to the educational trust MANSAS founded in the hallowed memory of his father Maharajah Alak Narayan Gajapathi.