Sudheendra Kulkarni

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Sudheendra Kulkarni
Director of PMO
In office
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Personal details
Born Athani, Karnataka, India
Political party Bhartiya Janata Party
Residence New Delhi
Alma mater Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
Profession Politician

Sudheendra Kulkarni is an Indian politician and columnist.[1]


Kulkarni was educated at Jadhavji Anandji High School in Athani, a town in Belgaum district, Karnataka, India. He then attended the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.[2]

Stint with BJP[edit]

A former member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist),[3] Kulkarni joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1996.[4] Of this ideological switch he said, "People like me were living in an illusory land. I realised very late in my life that the Marxist ideology is not suitable in India - in fact, I would say it is unsuitable for any corner of the world."[5]

As a member of the BJP, he was associated with the India Shining campaign[6] and rode on the inaugural Delhi–Lahore Bus.[7] He helped former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee write his speeches[8] and in 2008 was acting as a strategist for Lal Krishna Advani,[9] who had influenced his rise within the party.[10]

Kulkarni resigned from the BJP in 2009. The electoral defeat suffered by the party, led by Advani, had effectively ended his role with the party and he had also become disenchanted with the influence exerted by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on party decision-making.[10]

In January 2012, he was reported to be once more working full-time for the BJP, on this occasion as an advisor to its president, Nitin Gadkari. He had been working for the Observer Research Foundation, a think tank, prior to this.[11]


Kulkarni worked as executive editor[5] for[when?] Blitz, a Mumbai-based tabloid format weekly that was edited and owned by Russi Karanjia.[12] According to Kulkarni, Karanjia was sympathetic to the communist movement in India but became disillusioned with it and its anti-Hindu secularism.[12] He became a strong sympathiser of the BJP and the Ayodhya movement, which led to Kulkarni being appointed in place of P. Sainath as deputy editor. Kulkarni was tasked with having Blitz reflect Karanjia's new-found sympathies.[12] Kulkarni then transformed Blitz from a left-wing newspaper into a BJP-oriented publication.[8]

Cash for votes scandal[edit]

In 2008, a sting operation was carried out that involved Kulkarni and another BJP activist. Later televised and known as the "cash-for-votes scandal", the operation purported to show a bribe of 10 million rupees being offered to three BJP MPs on behalf of the Indian National Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. The alleged bribes were intended to obtain the support of the MPs in the 2008 Lok Sabha Vote of Confidence. Subsequently, both the Kishore Chandra Deo committee — a parliamentary panel — and the police investigated the arrangements and questioned various participants, including Kulkarni.[13][14] In 2011, Kulkarni was remanded in judicial custody for a period[15] and in November of that year was released on bail.[16][17]


  1. ^ "Sudheendra Kulkarni attacked by Sena activists ahead of Kasuri book launch". The Indian Express. 2015-10-12. Retrieved 2015-10-12. 
  2. ^ Kulkarni, Sudheendra (15 July 2006). "Gurudakshina: what we owe to alma maters". The Indian Express (Online). New Delhi: The Indian Express Limited. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "Sudheendra Kulkarni quits BJP". The Hindu. Chennai. PTI. 23 August 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "BJP greets 'brave' Kulkarni". The Telegraph. Kolkata. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Bhushan, K.; Katyal, G. (2002). Lal Krishna Advani: Deputy Prime Minister. New Delhi: APH Publishing. p. 36. ISBN 978-8-1764-8392-6. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Gupta, Kanchan (11 June 2009). "The knives are out in the BJP". Mumbai: Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  7. ^ Kulkarni, Sudheendra (8 March 1999). "One Small Step At Wagah". OUTLOOK New Delhi: Outlook Publishing (India) Pvt. Ltd. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Rafiq Zakaria (2004). Indian Muslims: where have they gone wrong?. Popular Prakashan. p. 348. ISBN 978-81-7991-201-0. Retrieved 21 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "Strategy Mian". Outlook. Outlook Publishing (India) Pvt. Ltd. 22 September 2008. Retrieved 21 July 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Advani's key aide Sudheendra Kulkarni quits BJP". Hindustan Times. 23 August 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2011. 
  11. ^ Bamzai, Kaveree (20 January 2012). "Return to party: Sudheendra Kulkarni back in BJP". India Today (online). New Delhi: Living Media India Limited. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c Kulkarni, Sudheendra (2 February 2008). "He launched Blitz on Feb 1, died on Feb 1-it's no coincidence". The Indian Express Limited. Retrieved 24 July 2011. 
  13. ^ Vyas, Neena (18 March 2011). "Parliamentary panel on 'cash-for-vote' scam recommended further probe". The Hindu. Retrieved 23 July 2011. 
  14. ^ "Prepared to be quizzed in cash-for-vote sting: Kulkarni". Hindustan Times. Press Trust of India. 20 July 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2011. 
  15. ^ "Cash-for-vote scam: Sudheendra Kulkarni's bail plea rejected, sent to judicial custody till October 1". The Times of India. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  16. ^ Kulkarni, Sudheendra (27 November 2011). "My Days in Tihar Ashram". The Indian Express. New Delhi. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  17. ^ "Sudheendra Kulkarni, 2 BJP Ex-MPs walk out of Tihar". The Economic Times. Mumbai: Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2012.