Pon Radhakrishnan
Minister of State for Finance
In office
3 September 2017 – 24 May 2019
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
MinisterArun Jaitley
Preceded byArjun Ram Meghwal
Succeeded byAnurag Thakur
Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways
In office
9 November 2014 – 3 September 2017
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
MinisterNitin Gadkari
Preceded byKrishan Pal Gurjar
Succeeded byV. K. Singh
In office
8 September 2003 – 22 May 2004
Prime MinisterAtal Bihari Vajpayee
MinisterB. C. Khanduri
Preceded byShripad Naik
Succeeded byK. H. Muniyappa
Minister of State for Shipping
In office
9 November 2014 – 24 May 2019
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
MinisterNitin Gadkari
Preceded byKrishan Pal Gurjar
Succeeded byMansukh L. Mandaviya (as MoS Independent charge)
Member of the Indian Parliament
for Kanyakumari
In office
5 June 2014 – 18 June 2019
Preceded byJ. Helen Davidson
Succeeded byH. Vasanthakumar
Member of the Indian Parliament
for Nagercoil
In office
Preceded byN. Dennis
Succeeded byA. V. Bellarmin
Personal details
Born (1952-03-01) 1 March 1952 (age 72)
Nagercoil, Travancore-Cochin, India
(now in Tamil Nadu, India)
Political partyBharatiya Janata Party
Residence(s)Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu, India
Alma materScott Christian College, Dr. Ambedkar Government Law College, Chennai
ProfessionLawyer, Politician

Pon Radhakrishnan (born 1 March 1952) is an Indian politician representing the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was the Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Shipping between May 2014 and May 2019.[1] Earlier, he served as the Union Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways in the NDA government. He has also served as the Minister of State for Youth affairs and Minister of State in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation in Third Vajpayee Ministry. He was elected to Lok Sabha from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu in 2014. He lost in the recent 2019 and 2021 (by-election) parliamentary elections.

Personal life

Radhakrishnan was born on March 1, 1952, in Alanthangarai village, Kanyakumari district to his father Ponnaya Ayyappan and mother Thangakani into a traditional Congress family, Radhakrishnan holds a BL Degree from Government Law College, Chennai.[2]

Political career

Early political career

After Kamaraj's demise, some of Radhakrishnan's family members joined the Janata Party. Radhakrishnan's brother Ramakrishnan joined the Hindu nationalist Jana Sangh and took charge as the district chairman. Radhakrishnan's uncle Chidambaram Athiswami Nadar contested and won the Colachal constituency in the 1977 elections on behalf of the Janata Party. In 1981, Radhakrishnan joined a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and later became its secretary. Later, Radhakrishnan's father Ponnaya Ayyappan was elected as the District President of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).[2]

Radhakrishnan joined the Hindu Munnani which was started in 1980, began to grow slowly in the Kanyakumari district. He traveled with its founder Rama Gopalan throughout Tamil Nadu for about a year as his assistant. He also worked as a co-organizer of the Hindu Munnani in the state.[2]

Radhakrishnan contested the Lok Sabha elections in Nagercoil for the first time in the 1991 elections. Despite being in the Hindu Munnani at the time, he contested as a BJP candidate and got 1 lakh 2 thousand 29 votes.[2]

As minister and political career (2003 — 2009)

Pon Radhakrishnan won the 1999 Lok Sabha election from Nagercoil constituency and became Minister of State for Youth Affairs in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government of 1999–2004. Later, he also served as Minister of State for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation.[3]

Radhakrishnan was defeated by a CPI (M) candidate in the Nagercoil Lok Sabha constituency in 2004, and in 2009, he was beaten by a DMK candidate in Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha constituency.[4]

As minister and political career (2009 — 2019)

He was president of Tamil Nadu state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party, resigning the position when he became a Minister of State in the Narendra Modi-led government.[5] He had won in a Lok Sabha seat in the 2014 Indian general election, from Kanyakumari constituency by a margin of 1,28,662 votes.[6] During this tenure, he served as Minister of State in various portfolios like Heavy Industries, Shipping and Finance. [citation needed]

Politics (2019 — present)

In September 2019, Radhakrishnan created a controversy after calling Tamil people as 'ungrateful'.He explained that the Tamil people failed to celebrate Modi after he praised the Tamil language. Later he claimed that he did not call all Tamils as ungrateful and only those doing politics with the language.[7][8]

Pon. Radhakrishnan participated in a BJP rally in support of Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 in Nagercoil in March 2020 where he spoke of chasing away Christian priests from the district. Many demanded that action be taken against Pon. Radhakrishnan for his communal speech which can incite violence.[9] Police complaints were also filed against him.[10]

Fishermen in Kanniyakumari claimed that around 40,000 - 45,000 fishermen votes in the 48 coastal hamlets in Kanyakumari Lok Sabha constituency was deliberately removed from the electoral-list out of fear that the fishermen would vote against the lone BJP Union minister, Pon Radhakrishnan, contesting in the constituency during the 2019 Lok sabha elections.[11] The coastal fishermen also complained that votes of inland fishermen in another 68 villages also have been removed purposely. They also alleged that their names were removed only a few days before the day of polling.[12][13]

He lost the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 by a margin of 2.59 lakh votes to H. Vasanthakumar from Indian National Congress.[14]

After the death of Vasanthakumar, he again contested in 2021 Lok Sabha by-election. But he was defeated by a margin of 1,37,950 votes by Vijay Vasanth who is the son of late Vasanthakumar.[15]

Political views

Pon Radhakrishnan claimed in 2018 that the Metoo movement was launched by "people with perverted minds" and questioned if it was appropriate to make charges about occurrences that took place years ago.[16] He claimed it "corrupts the purity of our land and honor of women" and said it is not a good thing. He also questioned the fairness of "if someone made such an allegation about an incident when playing together in Class 5" and asked whether it would be appropriate for men to begin levelling similar allegations against women.[17][18]

Radhakrishnan in 2019 asked Tamil people to study Hindi and Sanskrit. He said that could not learn Sanskrit for various reasons and that he was ashamed of it. He also said that Sanskrit and Tamil are equal.[19] He also urged parents to let their children to learn Sanskrit.[20]

Electoral Career

Lok Sabha Elections Contested

Elections Constituency Party Result Vote percentage Opposition Candidate Opposition Party Opposition vote percentage
1991 Nagercoil BJP Lost 18.82 N. Dennis INC 51.60
1996 Nagercoil BJP Lost 30.25 N. Dennis TMC(M) 35.18
1996 Nagercoil BJP Lost 45.08 N. Dennis TMC(M) 50.00
1996 Nagercoil BJP Won 50.21 N. Dennis INC 26.41
2004 Nagercoil BJP Lost 36.49 A. V. Bellarmin CPI(M) 60.88
2009 Kanniyakumari BJP Lost 33.24 J. Helen Davidson DMK 41.81
2014 Kanniyakumari BJP Won 37.62 H. Vasanthakumar INC 24.64
2019 Kanniyakumari BJP Lost 35.00 H. Vasanthakumar INC 59.77
2021 bye-election Kanniyakumari BJP Lost 39.92 Vijay Vasanth INC 52.50
2024 Kanniyakumari BJP TBD 33.24 TBD TBD TBD

Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly Elections Contested

Elections Constituency Party Result Vote percentage Opposition Candidate Opposition Party Opposition vote percentage
2011 Nagercoil BJP Lost 22.87 A. Nanjil Murugesan AIADMK 40.01



  1. ^ "PRESS COMMUNIQUE - President of India allocates portfolios of the Council of Ministers". pib.nic.in. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d "உருவானார் பொன். ராதாகிருஷ்ணன்". Hindu Tamil Thisai (in Tamil). 26 April 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  3. ^ Radhakrishnan "Pon Radhakrishnan". India. Retrieved 19 September 2015. ((cite web)): Check |url= value (help)
  4. ^ Seetharaman, G. (19 May 2014). "Pon Radhakrishnan: BJP's lone ranger in Tamil Nadu". The Economic Times. ISSN 0013-0389. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  5. ^ "Tamilisai Sounderrajan appointed BJP TN unit president". The Hindu. The Hindu. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha Elections and Results 2014". Elections. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
  7. ^ "Tamils are ungrateful people: Former BJP minister". Deccan Herald. 17 September 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  8. ^ "BJP's Pon Radhakrishnan calls Tamils 'ungrateful', gets slammed". www.thenewsminute.com. 17 September 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  9. ^ ""அவர்களை ஓடஓட விரட்டியடிக்க வேண்டும்" - வன்முறையைத் தூண்டும் வகையில் பொன்.ராதாகிருஷ்ணன் திமிர் பேச்சு!". www.kalaignarseithigal.com. 2 March 2020. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  10. ^ Christians political party police complaints against Pon Radhakrishnan Tamil news, archived from the original on 12 December 2021, retrieved 27 July 2021
  11. ^ "In Kanyakumari, Christian fisherfolk suspect foul play in mass deletion of voters' names, cite opposition to Sagarmala as reason Elections on the GO". Firstpost. 21 May 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Fisherfolk fume over many names deleted from the voters list in Kanyakumari". The Times of India. 19 April 2019. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  13. ^ Aruloli, M. (23 April 2019). "Over 37,000 names deleted from voters list, say Kanniyakumari fishers". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  14. ^ "Pon Radhakrishnan is BJP candidate for Kanyakumari Lok Sabha bye-election". The News Minute. 6 March 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  15. ^ Waje, Hemant. "Congress ex-MP's son defeats BJP's Pon Radhakrishnan in Kanyakumari". Rediff. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  16. ^ "#MeToo launched by people with perverted minds, says union minister Radhakrishnan". ThePrint. 18 October 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  17. ^ "#MeToo movement was started by people with perverted minds, says Union minister Pon Radhakrishnan". Scroll.in. 18 October 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  18. ^ https://thewire.in/women/metoo-movement-perverted-minds-bjp-union-minister-pon-radhakrishnan
  19. ^ "சமஸ்கிருதம் தெரியாமல் வெட்கப்படுகிறேன்.. தமிழர்களே ஹிந்தி, சமஸ்கிருதம் படியுங்கள்: பொன்.ராதா". 14 September 2015.
  20. ^ "Let Your Kids learn Sanskrit: Radhakrishnan".